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Full text of "When Max came"









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MEMORIAL HALL LIBRARY 

ANDOVER, MASS. 



This book may be kept for fourteen days. 
Overtime two cents a day. Books detained 
two weeks over the time will be sent for at 
the borrower's expense. 

Seven day fiction and other books in 
especial demand cannot be renewed or 
transferred. 

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H B. MCAROLE 



BOOKS BY 
EDNA A. BROWN 



Cloth. Illustrated. 



FOUR GORDONS Price $1.50 

UNCLE DAVID'S BOYS . . . Price Net $1.00 

Postpaid $1.10 

WHEN MAX CAME . . . . Price Net $1.20 

Postpaid $1 .30 



LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO. 
BOSTON 




This is certainly the most strenuous picnic I ever 
attended ! "—Page 371. 



L- 



WHEN MAX CAME 



BY 

EDNA A. BROWN 

Author of "Four Gordons," and "Uncle David's Boys 



ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GOSS 




BOSTON 
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO. 



Published, March, 1914 



Copyright, 1914, by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. 



All rights reserved 



When Max Came 



Tlorwooo press 

BERWICK & SMITH CO. 

NORWOOD, MASS. 
U. S. A. 



I 






^ 



Though long ago the word was penned, 
"Of making books there is no end." 
This book was made to please my friend. 

DEDICATED 

TO 

J. R T. 



88199 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I How the Story Began n 

II Tin-: Com ixc OF Max 24 

III To Tin: 1 -ALDFACE 42 

IV Some and a Thunder Storm . 59 
V Tin. Mysterious Cottage .... 79 

VI One Sunday 94 

YII The Open Road 102 

YIII Ox tin: Way to the Post-office . .119 

IX Conn; 131 

X The Next Day 142 

XI Concerning Mr. Lemon and Mrs. Le- 

moini; 154 

XII A Morning Swim 165 

XIII Rome and Ronald 180 

XIV Blueberry Mountain 198 

XV A Midnight Visitor 210 

XVI Mr. Lemon Has a Caller .... 222 

XVII In the Fog 240 

XVIII The Kraken 255 

XIX "Where is Molly?" 275 

XX The Brier Swamp 283 

XXI Hope Changes Her Mind .... 293 

XXII A Loaf of Cake 306 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XXIII On the Buckboard 314 

XXIV A Picnic and a Pig 329 

XXV Mr. Thornley 341 

XXVI The " Bacon Bat " 356 

XXVII A Message from Mrs. Lemoine . . 372 

XXVIII The Last of Mr. Lemon 388 

XXIX The End of the Summer .... 406 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

" This is certainly the most strenuous picnic I ever 

attended ! " ( Page 371) . . . . Frontispiece 

FACING 
PAGE 

From that window, a face was watching them . . 82 

" I think he's struck our trail " 212 

Foot by foot he struggled on, not daring to pause . 288 

" That is Nan! Look at her!" 336 

" Here we are ! Three of them ! One must be the 

deed \" 400 



WHEN MAX CAME 

CHAPTER I 

HOW THE STORY BEGAN 

44 A JJTY dear boy, I am just as sorry about it as 

J y I you are, but what can we do? I cannot 
take you to India with me when three 
physicians say you ought not to go. You forget how 
ill you have been." 

The tall lad addressed made no immediate response, 
but continued to gaze into Russell Square with a 
sober, rather unhappy expression on a face that looked 
as if it were more accustomed to wear a smile. 

" And yet you propose to ship me off to the United 
States! " he said at length. 

" The Atlantic in June is a different proposition 
from the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean." 

" I'll bet I could find three doctors to contradict the 
opinion of those old freaks ! " continued the lad flip- 
pantly and with the assurance of an only son. " I'm 
perfectly well again, Dad, and I don't want to spend 
the summer with an aunt and cousins I've never seen. 



12 WHEN MAX CAME 

Of course we've had letters, but it isn't the same. I 
know I'll not like them and there's no earthly reason 
why they should like me ! " 

"Don't be ridiculous, Max," said his father in a 
puzzled manner. He sat by the table, balancing a 
fountain pen across one finger, apparently oblivious 
of the fact that the seesaw movement was disagreeing 
with it. 

Max was turning from the window when an inci- 
dent in the square caught his attention. A sleepy old 
London cab horse drowsed in the sunshine while 
cabby also slumbered peacefully upon the box. Along 
came a street urchin, possessed, by some kindly for- 
tune, of a pasteboard megaphone. He spoke through 
it into the horse's ear and the result exceeded his ex- 
pectations. Max, looking down from the window, 
laughed outright as the suddenly electrified steed 
bolted wildly at a right angle across the street, while 
the driver, minus his hat, clutched frantically at the 
reins and poured a flood of invective upon the grin- 
ning imp who had caused the commotion. 

Still smiling, Max turned to face his father. An ex- 
pression of affectionate amusement came into his eyes 
as he noticed the damage done by the misused pen. 

" You'll be sorry ! " he began whimsically. " You'll 
mislay your notebooks, and lose your tickets, and miss 
your trains, and forget where you're going, and spill 
ink on all the hotel table-covers! Oh, you'll be sorry 



HOW THE STORY BEGAN 13 

you made me go off by myself and have a beastly time 
all summer ! " 

" Max, I'm really ashamed that you've never seen 
Aunt Helen and Uncle George, nor ever been to the 
States. I've let you grow up in Italy and be taught 
by Englishmen until you seem in danger of forget- 
ting that you are an American. It is high time you 
paid a visit there." 

" You'll be sorry when you've done it ! " replied the 
boy in the same whimsical tone. 

"I cannot take you with me; that is out of the 
question. I shall be glad if you are willing to accept 
this invitation from Aunt Helen. I know you would 
have a very jolly summer." 

" Hear him say I'll have a good time ! " Max re- 
marked to a sparrow chirping in the tree outside. 

" I haven't lived with you all your life not to know 
exactly what your state of mind will be after three 
months in Maine. You will be very reluctant to leave 
the place and all the new friends you have made. I 
am no prophet; I'm merely observant, and it happens 
every summer ! " 

Max laughed, and his father went on affectionately. 

"lam disappointed too, for I shall miss you more 
than you will me. But, really, I sometimes doubt if 
I have done right in allowing you to knock about with 
me as you have in the ten years since your mother 
died." ' 



i 4 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Don't you worry over that, Dad ! " said his son 
cheerfully. Wandering around Europe with his boy- 
ish father, who was the best of chums and companions, 
seemed to Max the most delightful occupation in the 
world. 

" Of course you need not go to Maine unless you 
wish ; you may stop in Scotland with the Lisles if you 
prefer, but since India is impossible, isn't it a chance 
to give great pleasure to some people who very much 
want your company ? " 

" Will you listen to the conceit of him ? " Max in- 
quired of the sparrow. " Just because he likes to have 
me around, he thinks every one must ! We'll see what 
happens when America discovers me! " 

"Oh, then you've decided to go?" laughed his 
father. 

" Decided some time ago, Dad, but I thought I'd 
listen politely to your eloquent arguments. I'll go — 
on one condition, but you must give me a written 
agreement about it." 

" I'll agree to anything within reason." 

" Then please let me have that pen — poor thing, 
how seasick you have made it ! " 

Max scribbled rapidly for a moment, a mischievous 
smile curling his lips, and presented the paper for a 
signature. 

" I never sign anything without first reading it," 



HOW THE STORY BEGAN 15 

said his father, adjusting his eyeglasses to peruse the 
offered document. 

M Hotel Russell, London, W. C, June 14, 19 — 
" I, Rodney C. Hamilton, of Rome, Italy, possessor 
of a half-alphabet of honorary degrees, being of 
moderately sound mind, do solemnly promise Maxfield, 
my only and angel child, that, in consideration of his 
behaving like a plaster saint and stopping meekly for 
three months in the backwoods of Maine, he shall next 
year spend the entire summer with me, whether my 
destination be Hammerfest or Patagonia. 
" Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of Max." 

Professor Hamilton read this remarkable agreement 
twice. " Hm ! ' angel child ! ' " he commented thought- 
fully. u I suppose there is no room for a difference 
of opinion on that point? " 

" None whatever ! " was the prompt reply. " The 
insinuation grieves me, Dad ! " 

" ' Plaster saint ' — curious expression, that ! I am 
in doubt as to exactly what line of conduct it involves. 
Well — if you understand it, I suppose it doesn't mat- 
ter." 

With a twinkle in his eyes, he took the pen and 
ceremoniously signed his name. 

Three weeks after this conversation, a boat was 
rocking gently off a wooded shore on one of the lonely 
lakes of Maine. The sole occupant was a girl of fif- 
teen who was resting on her oars, evidently waiting 



16 WHEN MAX CAME 

for some one to come down from the road above, for 
an occasional rustling of twigs and crackling of 
branches showed that a short cut was being at- 
tempted. 

The sun was both bright and hot, and Hope kept 
pushing back her hair and shielding her eyes as she 
cast impatient glances at the half-obliterated path lead- 
ing into the woods. She scorned a hat ; what was the 
use of a country summer if one did not go back brown 
and sunburned to the city in the fall? Presently the 
firs parted, and a tall athletic boy emerged, carrying a 
fishing rod and a string of pickerel. 

" I thought you were never coming ! " Hope began 
eagerly. 

" Aren't they beauties ? " inquired her brother, hold- 
ing the fish for her inspection, their striped sides glis- 
tening in the sun. " I wonder why they are called 
pickerel. They are shaped just like lead-pencils." 

" George Ralston, you are the most provoking 
person on earth ! " Hope exclaimed. " Here I have 
important news to tell you and you talk about fish ! " 

Her good-natured brother only laughed at this ac- 
cusation. As a little boy, he had been called Junior 
to distinguish him from his father, and later this was 
shortened to June. The name seemed appropriate, for 
he had grown up with a happy, even disposition. 

"Is Max really coming?" he asked as he stepped 
into the boat and began to row leisurely. " Mother's 



HOW THE STORY BEGAN 17 

invited him so many times without any result that I 
began to think Uncle Rod never meant to let him visit 
us." 

" Yes, he's coming. Mother's perfectly delighted. 
I left her actually crying over the letter, — she was so 
glad about it. Do you suppose we'll like him? " 

" Uncle Rod is mighty nice ; I guess we can stand 
Max," replied June, feathering his oars with careful 
precision and thinking of the pleasant recollection left 
by his uncle's only visit. 

" I almost wish he wasn't coming," Hope observed, 
as she watched the trailing ends of the oars. 
" Imagine having a cousin we've never seen and who 
has been brought up in Europe at that, coming to stay 
all summer ! And Uncle Rod has ever so much money 
and he's a terribly important person with all those big 
scientific people; Max has been everywhere and had 
everything — what will he think of the way we are 
living here in Maine? He may not realize that we 
don't live so all the year. I wouldn't care so much if 
he came when we were at home. There we have serv- 
ants and the house is so pretty." 

"If Max has any sense, he'll have a good time. I 
like it; why shouldn't he?" 

" We usually have such fun together, and I'm afraid 
Max will be horrid and stuck up and won't like the 
things we do, and it will spoil everything ! " said Hope 
rather gloomily. 



1 8 WHEN MAX CAME 

" On the contrary, he may know tremendously in- 
teresting things to show us how to do." 

" That's not likely ! " replied his sister emphatically. 
" Do you suppose he'll even understand English? " 

June gave a shout of laughter. " Well, I should 
smile ! Now look here ; don't make up your mind not 
to like him before you ever see him. Do you remem- 
ber that man who came to the house last winter? 
What was his name? Well, anyway, he knew Uncle 
Rod and he said Max was a crackerjack." 

June spoke pleasantly, but he did not understand 
his sister's feeling. It was only natural that he should 
be the more pleased at prospect of his cousin's visit. 

" I don't believe he'll have a good time and I'm 
afraid I sha'n't like him. He was to sail on the 
twenty-eighth, so he may come any day. It all de- 
pends on when the steamer arrives at Boston. 
Mother is going to write him in care of the steamship 
company, but she hardly thinks the letter will reach 
him because the mails here are so uncertain." 

" I'll venture he'll never get it," observed her 
brother. " It will be great to have a fellow of my 
own age around, especially if he's good sport. But 
see here, Polly Anne, this '11 make some difference to 
bur writing that play we planned. Max won't care 
for that, so we'll call it off. He'll want to tramp and 
explore." 

June, looking beyond his sister in the stern, did not 



HOW THE STORY BEGAN 19 

notice the sudden change that swept her face. Not 
write that play ? Why, they had talked of it all winter ! 

" Oh, June!" she began, her voice quivering with 
eagerness, " let's not give that up ! I've Lady Rosa- 
mond all thought out. And that's ours, — yours and 
mine. It's absolutely nothing to Max, and I don't 
want to give it up because he's coming. Surely, 
there'll be time enough ! " 

" Oh, we can do it another summer," said June 
easily, still quite unconscious of her dismay. " Max 
and I'll need the time for all sorts of stunts. Of 
course," he added, " they'll probably be things you can 
do, too. But you know, Polly Anne, trying to write 
a play isn't the sort of thing every fellow likes. Max 
most likely would think us a couple of loonies. Really, 
I think we'd better not even mention it." 

His sister was silent and June did not suspect how 
deeply his indifference hurt her. Far quicker than 
her brother intellectually, she openly cherished am- 
bitions of some day becoming a great author. Com- 
positions and themes had no terrors for Hope, lessons 
in literature proved unalloyed pleasure, and en- 
couraged by the praise of her teachers she was always 
ready to plume her unfledged literary wings for a fresh 
flight. These aspirations were hardly shared by June, 
but the friendship between the two was so strong that 
it always sufficed to make him regard her effc rts with 
tolerance and sometimes to try to equal them. 



20 WHEN MAX CAME 

Hope had tramped, fished, studied, played with her 
brother; all her life had been everything to him that a 
good comrade could be. He had welcomed her on 
many an expedition and shared many boyish plans 
from which the average sister would have been de- 
barred. Perhaps the two were the more congenial be- 
cause they were so different. June with his merry blue 
eyes and keen sense of fun was singularly serene and 
sweet-tempered. As for Hope, her sensitive, clear-cut 
face and glorious auburn hair were the outward sym- 
bols of a versatile disposition and a hot temper. Hope 
could be either a friend worth having or a most pep- 
pery little foe. 

June's last careless words still rang in her ears as 
she sat silently in the boat. To think that he could 
so easily throw over her cherished plan just on the sup- 
position that their cousin might not care for it ! Hope 
registered an inward vow never to speak of that play 
again the whole vacation long. The coming of Max 
was already casting a shadow before! 

With difficulty Hope swallowed her disappointment 
and made an effort to speak naturally. 

" I know Max will think things are queer/' she ob- 
served at length. 

" Well, I suppose we might think so, if we'd always 
lived in Europe, but it doesn't follow that he'll be 
stuck up or disagreeable." 

June's leisurely strokes had brought the Vart to her 



HOW THE STORY BEGAN 21 

usual mooring-place, and leaving her brother to clean 
his fish, Hope went slowly up the path to the old farm- 
house they were occupying for the summer. She had 
enjoyed their primitive way of living, but to-day she 
was considering it from what she imagined would be 
her cousin's point of view. Max, who she supposed 
was accustomed to every luxury, would surely think 
rough bare floors beyond the pale of society, and how 
would the cot beds and the queer chairs strike him? 

Molly, her little four-year-old sister, was playing 
on the stone doorstep with her doll and two fat kit- 
tens. Hope stopped to smile at the pretty picture, but 
her frown soon returned. Molly in blue gingham was 
bewitching, but she should see that Molly was dressed 
in white when Max came. 

Mrs. Ralston was busy in the kitchen and Hope 
began to set the table, putting down each dish with an 
unusual feeling of disdain. They had been borrowed 
from the village hotel and were certainly quite un- 
attractive. 

" Mother ! " she called presently, " don't you think 
we'll have a servant when Max comes? " 

" I see no reason, dear. We are living so simply 
and when all help, it isn't hard for any of us. Why, 
Hope, I don't believe we spend two hours a day over 
the housework ! " 

" I know it isn't hard, but won't Max think it 
queer ? " 



22 WHEN MAX CAME 

"If he is like most lads of sixteen, he will think it 
the jolliest possible way to spend a summer, and even 
if he did not, that would be no reason for us to alter 
our way of living." 

" I hope we shall like him." 

"Oh, we shall! How can we help it? I have a 
very warm place in my heart for my Edith's boy. I 
wanted Max dreadfully when his mother died, but Rod- 
ney could not give him up. Poor Rodney! He was 
only a boy himself, too young to face that experience 
entirely alone, and I don't wonder he wanted to keep 
all he had left of Edith. But, Hope, won't it be lovely 
to have Max this summer? If he is at all like his 
parents he will be such a dear fellow ! And what fun 
he and June will have together ! " 

Hope listened with some amazement to this out- 
burst from her usually placid mother. Mrs. Ralston's 
cheeks were flushed and her eyes bright as she stopped 
to read again the letter that told of her nephew's com- 
ing. 

u How I wish your father could be here for all sum- 
mer instead of just a few weeks ! " she continued. " It 
is the only thing needed now." 

Hope made no comment at the time, but when her 
task was completed, answered Molly's call to come and 
see the pussies. Molly was Hope's darling, and she 
gathered both her and the kittens into a tight hug. 



HOW THE STORY BEGAN 23 

" All the same, little sister,'' she mused, half-aloud, 
" from the way Mother and June seem to feel, it looks 
as though things were going to be different when our 
cousin from Europe arrives." 



CHAPTER II 

THE COMING OF MAX 

WHEN Maxfield Hamilton reached the North 
Station that July morning, it was in its usual 
congested condition, trains coming in with 
commuters, others pulling out on long distance 
journeys, motor trucks shooting to and fro loaded with 
baggage, and everywhere crowds of people. The big 
station and its appointments afforded him great in- 
terest, for it differed from the English and Conti- 
nental service he knew so well. These powerful 
engines and long, low-hung cars were a contrast to 
those of Europe, and no first-class compartment in one 
of their trains could approach the luxury of this Pull- 
man with its easy chairs, footstools and plate-glass 
windows. 

Max settled himself for the day's journey, and pres- 
ently had his attention frankly attracted to a party 
occupying seats opposite, — a lady dressed in deep 
mourning, accompanied by two young girls. The 
older of the two was about his own age. She had 
dark curly hair, brown eyes, and a face both sweet and 
sensible. Her evident solicitude for her fragile 

24 



THE COMING OF MAX 25 

mother was pretty to see. The other girl was per- 
haps a year younger and was beautiful in an unusual 
way. Dark brows and lashes shaded deep blue eyes, 
but her piquant little face was framed by hair of that 
true flaxen so seldom seen except in tiny children. 
There was something radiant and elusive in her ex- 
pression as though a tricksy woodland spirit had 
chosen to masquerade as a mortal maiden. Her sister 
was busy in arranging everything for her mother's 
comfort, but the younger girl found time to notice their 
next neighbor, to give him an impersonal, appraising 
and wholly innocent glance from under level brows, 
exactly as one little child looks at another on first meet- 
ing. 

Presently the train started, emerging before long 
into a country green and gold under the summer sky. 
For a time, Max sat intent on the landscape with its 
changing panorama of field and farm. Cosy New 
England homesteads flashed past, tall elms, glimpses 
of marsh and river, unfamiliar flowers appearing as 
streaks of bright color, daisies everywhere, — the fields 
were fairly buttoned down with daisies, — gray stone 
walls marking boundary lines, villages of detached 
wooden houses surmounted by white church steeples, 
— so unlike the placid English hamlets. 

It seemed a very long time since back in England 
he and Dad said " auf zviedersehen" a parting that 
hadn't been easy for either. But to argue with Fate 



26 WHEN MAX CAME 

in the form of three physicians seemed useless even to 
Max's optimistic nature. Moreover, the peculiarly 
close attachment existing between him and his busy, 
scholarly father had developed in his character a 
certain unselfish chivalry. According to His code of 
ethics, " bothering Dad " wasn't fair play. After the 
first dismayed explosion, Max realized that the disap- 
pointment was not his alone : Dad also was sorry to 
be deprived of his usual companion. 

Now the wide Atlantic lay behind and the summer 
with its new experiences and the new friends it might 
bring lay before. No letter from Maine reached him 
when the Ivernia docked, and Max spent the night 
at a Boston hotel with the English friends for whose 
company he had taken that especial steamer. There 
had been time to see a little of a new and interesting 
city, but the friends of the voyage had gone their way 
and he must go to Maine alone. Accustomed to mak- 
ing his own arrangements, Max was usually rather 
proud of his ability to relieve Dad concerning details 
of boats and trains, but it was a new and not wholly 
pleasant experience to be without a single acquaint- 
ance and on the other side of a wide ocean. 

Last summer, he and Dad had camped on the Nor- 
way mountains. Only cowherds were within fifty 
miles, and there was not much to look at except plants, 
clouds, and insects. Existence was primitive, sleeping 
in tents and eating the strange concoctions occasion- 



THE COMING OF MAX 27 

ally served by the Norwegian cook. Raspberries 
stewed in beer had been one of these odd combinations. 
Max had not been lonely without companions of his 
own age, for fishing was excellent and a guide was 
always at his service. When that sport palled, there 
were long mountain tramps to be taken with some one 
or other of the three scientists in the party. What 
a good time he did have and how sorry he was when 
they broke camp! 

The summer previous to that had been spent in a 
tiny Welsh village, miles from a railway, out on a wide 
gorse-covered moor that stretched away to bold head- 
lands with hard white beaches between, where the 
Irish Sea rolled its breakers and no one ever came. 
Those cliffs were full of caves, very desirable for play- 
ing pirates. Dad was writing a book that summer 
about which they had a very solemn agreement: 
he was on no account to be interrupted during the 
morning. But what fun they had after luncheon 
when the work was laid aside and Dad was at liberty 
to be the prince of playmates! What jolly comrades 
those Scotch boys and girls who were stopping in the 
village had proved! Why, he had the time of his life 
that summer! 

At these recollections, Max smiled involuntarily. 
Perhaps Dad's prediction about this coming vacation 
would prove true. 

The train curved, flooding his window with sun- 



28 WHEN MAX CAME 

light. To avoid it, Max swung his chair toward the 
aisle, thus obtaining a good view of his opposite 
neighbors. He thought them most attractive and 
found himself wishing that his unknown cousins might 
promise as much in the way of companionship and fun 
as these two seemed to suggest. He fell to comparing 
them with girls known in Italy and England. Two 
or three could not be removed from niches where good 
comradeship had placed them, but in memory they 
scarcely seemed as dainty, as calmly self-possessed, nor 
so prettily dressed as these Americans, and certainly 
he had never seen any one quite so fascinating as that 
fair-haired girl. 

Next, he wondered whether train etiquette in the 
United States permitted conversation with strangers 
as was the case in the small compartments of a Euro- 
pean carriage. Reluctantly he decided that the ex- 
periment might prove risky, and since the sun still pre- 
vented full enjoyment of his window, unscrewed his 
pen and began a letter, in order to keep himself out of 
temptation. 

The letter proved absorbing, for there was much to 
tell Dad and it was important that it should be enter- 
taining and should give no hint that the writer was at 
all lonely: 

" I hope I'll have a chance to see Boston again," the 
epistle ended. " I went all around Harvard and 



THE COMING OF MAX 29 

wished there was time to look up some of your friends. 
But I expect they'd be away, seeing it's not term-time. 
I assimilated great hunks of Boston yesterday after- 
noon. Like that expression, padre miof It's one I've 
acquired since leaving you. There are two pretty 
girls across the car. Isn't it sorrowful that I've not 
thought of an excuse to get acquainted? They look 
no end jolly, not a bit young-ladyfied, and probably 
they'd like to play with me as much as I would with 
them. I think I'll stand on my head in the aisle and 
see what happens. Nothing happened! And I like 
the way you sneaked my new fountain pen and left 
your old leaky one. I'll buy me a fine gold-mounted 
one and I won't pay for it out of my allowance either! 
Now, remember, you must write every single week to 
your angel child. If you don't he'll be homesick and 
probably die and then you'll be sorry ! " 

Absorbed in equipping the signature of this epistle 
with neat cherub wings, Max failed to notice the ap- 
proach of the conductor. He looked up just as the 
portly official returned three bits of pasteboard to 
the dark-haired girl with some remark about chang- 
ing trains. Max did not catch the name of the town 
nor give it a thought until the conductor, after punch- 
ing and scrutinizing his own ticket, handed it back 
with the astonishing direction : " Change where the 
rest of your party do ! " 

Max stared. " Pardon me!" he interposed. 
" Where did you say change? " 

" With the rest of your party," repeated the patient 



30 WHEN MAX CAME 

official. Then, seeing the boy's surprised expression, 
he turned. " Aren't you with these ladies? " he asked, 
indicating the three across the aisle. 

"No, I'm alone!" replied Max, looking across the 
car to encounter frank smiles from both girls and an 
interested glance from their mother. 

" Your tickets are all for Newhope, so I thought 
you were together," said the conductor, himself smil- 
ing at his mistake. " Change at Rockland." 

" That was a natural inference," said the lady 
pleasantly as the official passed on, for the nice boy 
opposite looked so amused that it seemed advisable to 
give both him and the girls a chance to laugh. " New- 
hope is so small a place that ours are perhaps the only 
tickets on the train." 

Max made the most of this opportunity and one re- 
mark led to another until it evolved that the final 
destination of all was the village of Bexford. Mrs. 
Walker and her daughters were to board at a farm- 
house, and though she did not know the Ralstons, 
it was probable that they might be near by. When in- 
creasing speed rendered conversation difficult, 
Max leaned back in his chair. He felt neither 
lonely nor depressed now, only aware that pleasant 
things were already beginning to happen. No effort 
was required to add a cheerful and somewhat mis- 
chievous postscript to his letter. 

At Rockland, he parted from his new acquaintances, 



THE COMING OF MAX 31 

for Mrs. Walker preferred to break her journey by 
remaining there over night. Max said " good-by," 
glad that it was probably only for the time, and made 
the rest of his journey by an accommodation train so 
slow that it was a relief to descend as the only pas- 
senger at Newhope. 

" Want to get to Bexf ord ? " inquired the solitary 
ticket clerk, freight agent and telegraph operator, after 
a curious inspection of the foreign labels on Max's 
luggage. " I'm sure I don't know how you're going 
to get there. John Purdy might drive you over to- 
morrow if he isn't haying, and I shouldn't wonder if 
he'd put you up to-night. That's his house, the long 
low one with the red barn. No, there isn't any hotel 
in Newhope; strangers most generally go to John's. 
I'll lock your trunk in the depot." 

Max sauntered down the quiet country road, stop- 
ping more than once to gather some wayside flower 
that was new to him. The low farmhouse looked cosy 
and he proffered his request to Mrs. Purdy, who came 
at his knock. 

" Mr. Purdy can drive you over to-morrow, but I 
don't see how I can take you in to-night. I'm up to 
my ears in butter and my hired girl's sick." 

Max was a little amazed, for Mrs. Purdy showed 
no sign of having been near a dairy. Realizing that 
her remarks were figurative, he made another at- 
tempt. 



32 WHEN MAX CAME 

" I won't be the least trouble. A bed and some 
bread and milk is all I want. Don't you think you 
could manage it? " 

Mrs. Purdy hesitated. Max had a winning smile, 
and his boyish face looked thin and tired. 

" Well, come in. It'll be pot-luck, but I'll do my 
best. There's a good bed, — that's one thing." 

The low-ceiled chamber was spotlessly clean and the 
country supper seemed delicious to Max, who had 
camped in rough places and eaten very simple fare for 
weeks at a time. Mrs. Purdy was pleased with his 
appreciation of her buttermilk biscuits and strawber- 
ries and cream, but utterly shocked by his openly ex- 
pressed admiration of the daisy-starred meadow be- 
hind the house. 

" That's whiteweed ! " she exclaimed, quite scandal- 
ized that a boy of his age should know no better. 
" It's a dreadful pest. Mr. Purdy has to fight it all 
the time or the grass would be killed out." 

Max forebore to horrify her still further by the 
statement that never before to-day had he seen daisies 
in such numbers. He smiled at her surprise and 
presently quite redeemed her good opinion by his en- 
thusiasm over her garden, gay with old-fashioned 
flowers. It was the one outlet for a nature that craved 
beauty and color, and the loving care expended upon 
it was a great uplift to a life cramped by circumstances 
into a narrow round. 



THE COMING OF MAX 33 

" It isn't often a boy likes posies or knows much' 
about them," she remarked at length. 

Max was looking absently at a bed of cornflowers. 
How blue the German meadows shone with them — 
the Kaiserblumen! And the ladies' delight, little 
none-so-pretties, — they too were old friends, growing 
wild in many a Swiss valley. 

"I am very fond of flowers, Mrs. Purdy," he re- 
plied, coming out of his reverie. 

" Do you know, you don't talk like folks round 
here? " she continued, looking at him thoughtfully, 
for a transient guest like this tall lad was new to her 
experience. 

" I live a long distance away," said Max, not think- 
ing it worth while to mention so remote a place as 
Italy. 

" You're rather young to be traveling far without 
any of your folks. Your mother now — you seem 
like a boy who has a sweet, kind mother, and you don't 
look over and above rugged — isn't she worried to 
have you away by yourself ? " 

" She isn't living, Mrs. Purdy," said Max gently, 
for his hostess had spoken wistfully and not at all as 
though urged by common curiosity. " She died when 
I was only six. I am thinner than usual just now, but 
I'm really very strong." 

" I thought maybe your mother was living, and I 
knew she must be fond of you," commented Mrs. 



34 WHEN MAX CAME 

Purdy simply. " But haven't you any one belonging 
to you?" 

" Oh, yes, my father ! We are great friends. And 
it is my aunt, my mother's sister, whom I'm going to 
visit in Bexford." 

"I'm glad of that," said Mrs. Purdy. "Well, 
you'll have to make an early start for we can't spare 
a horse for all day, so you'd better go to bed before 
long. You've had a hard jaunt on the cars and you 
look tired. I'll call you when it's time, so don't have 
it on your mind." 

Her tone was almost affectionate and Max smiled 
as he took her advice and went to his room. It was 
queer how good people always were to him ! 

Though the month was July, it was actually cold 
when he started next morning with his trunk in the 
back of the spring wagon, and Will Newell, a lad a 
little older than himself for driver. Mrs. Purdy had 
provided a bountiful breakfast and just as he was 
starting, offered him, rather shyly, a big bunch of 
flowers. 

" You can throw them away if you want," she said, 
" but I thought maybe you'd like to take them along." 

"Indeed, I would!" exclaimed Max, his quick 
sympathy touched by this gift from the hard-working 
woman whose flowers seemed to him the only bright 
spot in a dull existence. He left her smiling and wav- 
ing her apron as they turned a curve. 



THE COMING OF MAX 35 

The road proved rough, and Max soon understood 
why so much time had been thought necessary for a 
twelve-mile drive. There was scarcely a level stretch 
in the whole distance and walking was often prefer- 
able to being bumped over rocks and into washouts. 
Will proved taciturn and would talk only in monosyl- 
lables, so that Max, w T ho was a social being, was forced 
to turn to the woods and the birds for entertainment. 
The trees were beautiful: great somber pines or oc- 
casional graceful birches and dainty little conical firs 
set in open rolling pastures. Birds new in plumage 
and song continually caught his attention. 

At the top of a final steep climb, Will pointed out 
Lake Innisfail, on the shore of which lay the farm- 
house where the Ralstons were spending the summer. 
Its shingled exterior was worn to a beautiful artistic 
gray; great elms towered in front, and there was a 
magnificent view over the lake, as yet unspoiled by a 
single summer cottage. Mr. Ralston had thought seri- 
ously of buying the old homestead, but it needed repairs 
so badly that it seemed wiser to test their liking for the 
locality by occupying it for one season as tenants. The 
second story was hardly habitable, but there was space 
enough for camping without use of the upper rooms. 

As they approached, Max looked anxiously for some 
trace of either aunt or cousins. There was no sign of 
life except an insistent bumblebee in a patch of clover, 
and no one answered a knock, several times repeated. 



36 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Guess they are all off fishing," Will commented, 
and somewhat to Max's dismay, left the trunk on the 
doorstep. " Better go in and make yourself at home," 
he added. " That's the way we do in Maine." 

Max watched the carriage to the turn of the country 
road, walked around the house, inspected the barn, 
and followed a path to the shore, where he paused 
to admire the beautiful lake set in encircling moun- 
tains. Far in the distance was a speck that might be 
a boat. 

There seemed nothing to do but wait. Provided 
with the cake of sweet chocolate he was too ex- 
perienced a traveler ever to be without, Max sat down 
on the bank where he was joined by a friendly and 
affectionate kitten, appearing promptly from nowhere 
in particular. 

" My summer surely has a queer beginning," he 
thought as the kitten, after refusing the politely offered 
refreshment, clawed its way to his shoulder. " Stow 
that, you little tiger! But if they truly seem glad to 
have me, I fancy I'll like it." 

Before long the speck on the lake grew larger and 
changed to a boat headed directly for the pier. Max 
watched its approach with keen interest. Its oc- 
cupants, rowing in the sunshine, could not see him 
in the shade of the bushes fringing the lake. In all 
probability that was Aunt Helen in the stern, with lit- 
tle Mary in her lap. The athletic fellow at the oars 



THE COMING OF MAX 37 

must be his cousin, George, junior, — he looked good 
sport. If that was Hope — what stunning copper- 
colored hair ! 

As they drew near he rose, and Hope, perched in 
the bow, caught sight of him. 

" Mother! " she exclaimed, " look! Who's that? " 

The next moment the boy in the boat called to the 
one on the pier. " Is it Max? " came the hail. 

" It's himself! " was the gay response and June bent 
to his oars with a vim that soon brought the Dart to 
the wharf. 

" Oh, my dear boy, I'm so sorry we were not here 
when you came!" Mrs. Ralston exclaimed, grasping 
eagerly the hand extended to help her ashore. Had 
Max ever really doubted the warmth of his welcome 
his aunt's loving embrace banished every possible mis- 
giving. 

Hope looked on critically. Max was certainly good- 
looking ; he had nice frank gray eyes, brown hair that 
would have curled had length permitted such frivolity, 
a straight nose, and looked even taller than June. His 
words were pronounced in a curiously distinct, clear- 
cut manner, but his voice was pleasant and a most 
engaging smile revealed handsome teeth. Still, Hope 
held her opinion in reserve, for the very well-made 
clothes he wore and his air of being perfectly at ease 
made her doubt his entire simplicity. 

" Indeed, I wasn't troubled in the least by my lonely 



38 WHEN MAX CAME 

arrival,'' Max went on in reply to his aunt's apologies. 
" The kitten was extremely cordial to me." 

June, who had been regarding him with interest, 
laughed at this remark, and Molly's shy blue eyes 
looked inquiringly from behind Hope, for the pussies 
were her especial property. 

u Max must be hungry after his early start," said 
Mrs. Ralston as they reached the house. u Hope, we'll 
get dinner at once. June, show your cousin the room 
you two are to share. We shall ask you literally a 
hundred questions, Max dear, but we'll give you some- 
thing to eat first." 

Max followed his cousin into a bare clean room 
furnished with two cots, an improvised bureau, a row 
of nails in the walls and empty boxes for seats. There 
were three windows, one looking into an apple tree 
and the others over the lake. Max gazed thoughtfully 
at the glistening water stretching away to the green 
hills, for a moment quite forgetting June. His aunt's 
embrace, her loving words, most of all the beautiful, 
motherly expression of her face, had wakened mem- 
ories long dormant. Dad had told him he would find 
Aunt Helen like Mother ; he already knew it. 

"What a jolly view!" he remarked, suddenly re- 
membering that he was not alone. " And that's a fine 
velvet plant you have there ! I saw ever so many along 
the roadsides. Dad said they were common over here, 
but I expected to see them only in gardens." 



THE COMING OF MAX 39 

June could not repress a sniff of disgust as he 
glanced at the object indicated. 

" That ? It's nothing but a mullein, the commonest 
kind of weed! " 

" They'd like a few in England. There's one in 
Kew Gardens labeled the ' American Velvet Plant.' " 

" Do they keep it under glass ? " June inquired 
sarcastically. 

" I think it likely. They would take tender care of 
a valuable specimen like that. I presume they only let 
it out during summer." 

June turned and looked at him suspiciously, but Max 
met his gaze with an expression of child-like innocence. 
For a long half-moment the cousins stared each other 
straight in the eyes. Then, recognizing kindred 
spirits, both burst into irrepressible laughter. 

June was the first to regain composure. " Come 
on out and play ball till dinner is ready," he suggested. 
" I'm as stiff as a poker after sitting in that boat so 
long." 

Max threw aside his coat and followed to the lawn, 
but was decidedly disconcerted to find his cousin's play 
too rapid for him. After weeks of enforced inac- 
tivity, his relaxed muscles would not respond to the 
demand made upon them. Try as he might, he could 
not equal the ease or certainty of June's aim. 

" I'm more used to bowling," he remarked after a 
while, his face flushing with discomfiture. " We play 



4 o WHEN MAX CAME 

cricket more, you know, and in that the rules bar your 
style of throwing." 

" Cricket always seems a tame performance to me," 
replied June. " Of course I haven't played it much," 
he added hastily. 

" It isn't exactly tame," said his cousin dryly. " In 
fact, it's rather more a game of skill than — " 

Max stopped to catch a ball sent with a vim that 
made his palm tingle. " I say! " he exclaimed, shak- 
ing his hand, "you certainly have the dandy biceps, 
though!" 

" That ball really is too hard to handle without 
gloves," said June, pleased at the tribute. " We'll 
stop, for we're likely to put a finger out. I've an ex- 
tra catcher's mitt and I'll look it up. Here's a good 
bough for chinning one's self. Can you do that ? " 

" I could once," answered Max, " but probably I 
can't now," he added, half-aloud, as he grasped the 
bough and tried to draw himself up. He succeeded 
twice but the third attempt proved a flat failure. In 
mortified silence he released his hold and watched his 
cousin easily perform ten times in succession the feat 
dear to all boyish hearts. 

" Give me a chance a little later, June !" he exclaimed 
good-naturedly though with a tone of disgust. " I'm 
not quite such a duffer as this looks ! I've been down 
and out for weeks past, you see. You have me beaten 



THE COMING OF MAX 41 

on the first round, but give me time to work up my 
muscle and I'll be heard from again ! " 

" As long as you need ! " assented June cordially, 
liking his cousin still better for this plucky acceptance 
of a situation obviously humiliating. 



CHAPTER III 

TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 

THREE mornings later Max awoke very early. 
After the first night he suggested to June that 
sleeping out of doors was " no end jolly " and 
that cots could be easily transported to the shelter of 
the big apple-tree. June, who had already decided 
that his cousin was a " sport," acquiesced at once and 
the room overlooking the lake was abandoned except 
for purposes of dressing. 

Max sat up and looked around him. The sun had 
not yet reached the cottage but its rays were lighting 
the top of Bald face whose slopes rose from the far- 
ther side of the lake. The water itself was smooth 
and placid, just turning from gray to silver and a soft 
white mist was curling away before the coming sun. 
The beauty of the morning appealed to Max and for 
some moments he sat enjoying the long shadows and 
dew-covered vines and grass. Suddenly from around 
a pile of logs came a small red animal. 

" I say, June ! " Max exclaimed in a whisper, slightly 
shaking the recumbent form of his cousin. 

"It's only a fox!" remarked June, aroused from 

4.2 



TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 43 

slumber. " They are not dangerous. It won't attack 
you." 

" Attack your grandmother ! " retorted Max. " I've 
seen a few foxes before this. Does any one around 
here preserve them ? " 

" Preserve them ? " repeated June, for a second 
honestly bewildered. " Oh, yes ! " he ended with a 
shout of laughter. " Mother does them up with 
lemon. Some people use onions. I myself prefer 
them skinned and preserved with horse-radish ! " 

Max stared. The New England use of the verb 
" preserve " as opposed to that of Old England was 
unknown to him, but he saw that in some way he 
had " made a break " and that the break appeared to 
be a bad one. For an instant he was annoyed by 
June's shaking shoulders but Max was possessed both 
of self-control and common-sense. Moreover, he 
liked his cousin. The next moment June's cot began 
to creak and groan. Its occupant, hampered by the 
blankets, was somewhat at a disadvantage under the 
sudden onslaught. His hasty turn landed the 
wrestling figures in the wet grass. 

Mrs. Ralston, already awakened by Molly, heard 
the commotion and looked from her window to see 
both cots overturned, bed-clothes and pillows scat- 
tered to the winds and her son and nephew engaged 
apparently in mortal combat in the early dawn. For 
an instant she was horrified but her concern vanished 



44 WHEN MAX CAME 

before the bursts of laughter that reached her ears. 
Evidently the fight, though ardent, was good-natured. 

Three minutes later a treaty of peace was concluded 
and the two started most amiably toward the lake for 
a morning swim. 

" Now, make a note that to ' preserve ' anything 
over here means to put it up in air-tight cans with a 
lot of sugar," teased June. 

"Cans?" asked Max. "What are cans?" 

" Well, that's another good one ! " exclaimed June 
to the landscape in general. " Max, it isn't six o'clock 
yet. If you keep on like this all day, you'll be the 
finish of me! " 

"If you mean 'tins' why don't you say so? We 
have tinned fruits in England." 

" They are not tin ; they're glass ! " June ex- 
postulated. 

" Then they aren't cans ! " insisted Max. " A 
1 can ' is a covered thing with a wire handle over the 
top." 

' That's a pail ! " interrupted June, bursting into 
helpless mirth. By this time the verbal tangle seemed 
too complicated for explanation. 

"Oh, I say!" laughed Max. "I fancy I'd better 
send for a dictionary and learn to speak English." 

"That's just the trouble!" June retorted. "You 
do speak English. I'm the one who needs the dic- 
tionary. Never mind, old chap, we'll do our best to 



TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 45 

understand your speech and supply your simple wants. 
Oh, but it was a lucky day, my cousin Maxfield, when 
you struck this place ! I foresee a happy summer for 
little June ! " 

" What a frolic you boys were having this morn- 
ing ! " remarked Mrs. Ralston, smiling at the two as 
they came in for breakfast. 

" Yes'm ! " said June with a reminiscent grin. 
"And we're planning another. Max wants to climb 
Bald face. He's perfectly possessed to get on top of 
that little pile of dirt. It's a dandy day for it. We 
could see miles out to sea." 

" We thought we could have a picnic, Auntie," Max 
explained. " Take our luncheon, you know, and you 
and Hope come, too. And isn't there any one else to 
invite?" 

u Mother ! " burst out Hope, " mayn't we ask those 
two girls who are staying at the red farmhouse? You 
know we spoke with them the other evening in the 
postoffice." 

" That would be very pleasant," assented her 
mother. " They seemed such nice girls and there are 
so few young people around here that the sooner you 
are acquainted, the better." 

" Girls ? " said June, laying down his fork. " What 
girls?" 

" Charlotte and Anstice Walker," explained Hope. 
" They came day before yesterday to the Tylers'. 



46 WHEN MAX CAME 

They live near Boston. You needn't be so exclusive, 
June. I'd like to have them go." 

" So would I," said Max quickly. 

June shook his head, with a doubtful air. " Max," 
he inquired solemnly, " do you like girls? " 

" Some girls," replied his cousin cautiously. " And 
I'd like to meet American ones. I have seen some, of 
course, but I'd like to know them here in the United 
States." 

" Go ahead and ask them, Hope," said June, pick- 
ing up his fork with an air of resignation. " If Max 
wants to make a scientific study of American girls, 
it's plainly our duty to provide him with specimens. 
Investigate all you please, Max. I'll stand by to take 
notes." 

"June, your cousin won't know what to make of 
you," remonstrated Mrs. Ralston. 

" Mother, don't worry," said her son. " Max ap- 
pears fairly intelligent." 

" I know he's only rotting, Auntie," Max hastened 
to reassure her. 

This innocent remark and its unintentional applica- 
tion sent June into apparent convulsions. Max grew 
red but finally smiled. 

" That's one on you ! " groaned June, recovering 
himself at last. "Don't mind me, old fellow. I'm 
taken this way sometimes. But I sure am going to 



TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 47 

send home for a dictionary. Oh, Mother, don't look 
so surprised! I'll be good now." 

June subsided with a chuckle. His keen sense of 
fun was an inheritance from his father. Even as a 
little boy he derived considerable amusement from 
the dilemmas in which he found he could often place 
his literal, easy-going mother. It was strange that 
Mrs. Ralston, married to a joking husband and the 
mother of a teasing son, should still possess so slight 
an appreciation of the ridiculous, but as a matter of 
fact she never grew accustomed to the airy banter in 
which the rest of her family indulged and would fre- 
quently, as June expressed it, rush out to apply an oil- 
can to waters that really were not in the least trou- 
bled. 

" Let me help with the sandwiches, Auntie," Max 
suggested when breakfast was over. u I've had ex- 
tensive experience in providing luncheon for an all-day 
tramp." 

Hope looked up quickly. Max had already 
astonished her several times by some revelation which 
indicated that his life had not all been spent, as she 
supposed, in the midst of untold luxury. He had 
given no indication of despising their primitive way 
of living, had taken everything for granted, and 
promptly followed June's example of helping with the 
work. In fact, Hope had experienced surprise, not 



48 WHEN MAX CAME 

unmixed with scorn, at her cousin's unaffected en- 
joyment of very simple pleasures. 

Hope set off to deliver her invitation and Max fol- 
lowed his aunt into the kitchen where she moved 
about, collecting material for sandwiches. 

" Max, dear," she said as she began to cut the 
bread, " you mustn't take June too seriously. He is 
a terrible tease, but he wouldn't really hurt your feel- 
ings for the world." 

" Why, it doesn't hurt me, Auntie," Max answered 
with a smile of amusement. " June and I hit it off 
capitally. It's just because we have arrived at an un- 
derstanding that he's ragging me. And I'm used to 
chaffing. June's going to get his full share." 

The worried expression that marked Mrs. Ralston's 
face vanished as he spoke. 

" I've never been a boy, Max, so I didn't under- 
stand," she said in a tone of relief, " but if that's the 
case, it's all right and I won't worry." 

Her nephew started to say something further, but 
stopped as he saw June appearing in the door- 
way. 

"Max," he asked, "did Mr. Beach say whether 
there is a spring on the mountain? " 

" Yes, he said there is one at the top. He gave me 
no end of directions. We are to take the road lead- 
ing to the village and start in behind Mr. Clark's 
house. We are also to keep on the left of the stone 



TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 49 

wall that runs nearly up the mountain and on no 
account to cross it." 

" Why? " inquired June. 

" Because there is a man on the opposite side of 
the mountain who pastures his cattle there, and some- 
time the ' critters ' aren't all cows ! " replied Max, with 
a comical imitation of the old farmer's tone. " He 
gave me to understand that the top was pervaded by 
a bull the size of the Trojan horse ! I'm not sure that 
he hasn't four horns and a pair of wings ! " 

" Whew ! You'd better not tell the girls ! " advised 
June with a side glance at his mother. 

"Oh, boys, do you suppose it is safe?" she in- 
quired nervously. 

" Auntie, Mr. Beach hasn't personally climbed Bald- 
face for twenty years. Probably the bones of that 
bull are bleaching on the sands of time ! " 

" Anyway, Mother, all we have to do is to keep on 
the right side of the wall." 

" The right side being the left in this case," com- 
mented Max. " I wish I had not said that if it is go- 
ing to trouble you, Auntie." 

" Oh, I shall not worry, Max, only don't take any 
risks." 

Before the lunch was quite prepared, Hope dashed 
in, rather breathless from her run and with a most 
animated face. 

" They'll go, Mother, and they seemed so pleased ! 



So WHEN MAX CAME 

Mrs. Walker came herself to speak with me. She's 
been ill and that's why she and the girls have come to 
such a quiet place to spend the summer. I'm so glad 
we asked them for I know I'm going to like them, 
especially Anstice. She's a dear, and the prettiest 
thing I ever saw! And Mrs. Walker wanted to help 
put up the lunch but when she went to ask about it, 
Mrs. Tyler didn't have much bread. So they are go- 
ing to bring some stuffed eggs and cake because Mrs. 
Tyler makes the best cake in all the township!" 

" Max," interposed June gravely, " I'm glad you 
are desirous of making a study of American girls." 

Max grinned, quite as much at his own thoughts as 
at June's comment. Mrs. Ralston paid no attention 
to the remark. 

" There, I think everything is ready. June, you 
might put the paper drinking cups in your pocket so 
as to have them convenient. Molly, you couldn't pos- 
sibly climb that mountain. Mother is to stay at 
home ; only the ' big children ' are going on this pic- 
nic. 

Charlotte and Anstice were not long in making 
their preparations. To the amazement of the Ral- 
stons they and Max met with smiles of recognition. 

" We got acquainted on the train," Charlotte ex- 
plained. " Mamma wished me to thank you for 
asking us," she added, turning to Mrs. Ralston. 
" She would be so glad to see you and the little girl 



TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 51 

while we are gone. She isn't able to walk much, but 
there's a lovely grove behind the Tylers' with our ham- 
mocks and a swing Molly might like." 

"Why, I think that would be charming!" replied 
Mrs. Ralston cordially. " We will go down this 
afternoon, for the mountain party will hardly re- 
turn until towards sunset." 

" Max, you snide ! " scoffed June, pulling his cousin 
aside while Charlotte was speaking. " The idea of 
your scraping acquaintance with those girls before 
you'd been twenty- four hours in the United States! 
Pretty rapid work! No wonder you wanted them to 
go ! Next, you'll tell me they began it." 

" / certainly didn't," Max retorted, his eyes brim- 
ming with laughter. " I thought I'd surprise you." 

" You have ! " June admitted in grudging admira- 
tion. " But don't let it occur again ! " 

The expedition started amid a chorus of good-byes 
and waving handkerchiefs. Molly and Mrs. Ralston 
watched them around the curve. Charlotte's conical 
Mexican hat showed a moment later over a low 
hedge, and then the two were alone except for the 
bees and pussies. 

"June, have you never been up this mountain?" 
Max inquired. "You were here last summer; didn't 
you climb it? " 

" We were in Bex ford and only drove over here. 
You know as much about it as I do." 



52 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Oh, look at the apples ! " interrupted Anstice. 
" Don't you believe they'd give us a few ? " 

" They do look nice," said Hope. " I love those 
red astrachans. June, do ask if we may have some." 

" Now, look here ! " began her brother. " You had 
your breakfast not an hour ago and we've loads of 
lunch—" 

"And loads of time!" put in Max. "I could do 
with some of those myself. I'll acquire a few, Hope." 

" Land ! yes, take all you want," said Mrs. Lincoln, 
wiping her hands on her apron as she replied to Max's 
knock. " They're just being wasted. Another time 
you needn't trouble to ask, but help yourself. What 
are you going to do, climb Baldface? Well, now, do 
be careful; they say Randall's bull is in the mountain 
pasture." 

The busy housewife left her steaming dishes to ac- 
company them into the orchard and herself point out 
the tree bearing the most desirable fruit. Sweater 
sleeves were converted into apple bags and the boys 
filled their pockets. 

" The people in this place are perfectly delightful ! " 
said Charlotte as they left the orchard. " Think of 
her coming 'way out here and not letting us pay a 
cent!" 

" It must be because it is the country," suggested 
Hope, but Max smiled. He had traveled far and wide 
and it was his experience that people the world over 



TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 53 

are much alike in being kind and friendly. This con- 
viction, and the fact that one can be at home in any 
place, were two bits of philosophy which sixteen years 
of life had already taught him. 

The road soon branched in either direction around 
the base of Bald face. A short distance along the 
right-hand curve was the Clark farm with its white 
house and weather-beaten barn where the doors at 
either end stood hospitably open and framed a charm- 
ing picture of green meadows and the sparkling lake 
beyond. 

" How I do like barns ! " exclaimed Anstice, mak- 
ing a detour in order to step over its broad sill. " It 
looks like a place where there should be kittens ! " 

There was a commotion near at hand and for a 
second Anstice was startled, but she soon saw that 
there was no cause for fear. 

" Oh, girls, here's the dearest little calf you ever 
saw! Bossy, don't be afraid; I only want to pat 
you!" 

" He'll choke to death," said June as the calf, 
frightened by the appearance of more unknown be- 
ings, pulled back with all his might against the leather 
collar. 

"Nan, do let him alone! He's killing himself!" 
protested Charlotte, alarmed by the calf's agonized 
attitude and protruding eyes. 

Anstice was at length detached from the calf and 



54 WHEN MAX CAME 

the procession took its way through a field that Mr. 
Clark had recently mown. The hay had been gathered 
into a big rick around a central pole, and the farmer 
and his hired man were putting on the last layers 
with great care, sloping them scientifically and pack- 
ing them firmly so as to form a roof that would shed 
water and keep the interior of the stack sweet and 
wholesome. 

Beyond the meadow lay a pasture, and here their 
progress was slow, for the wild strawberries were still 
abundant. 

" I wish they weren't so small," said Max after a 
while. " It takes more than fifteen to make a taste." 

" I didn't know I sat on one," murmured Hope, 
looking reflectively at her skirt. 

"Wasn't it more than one?" inquired Max mis- 
chievously. " Judging from the number it takes to 
make a mouthful, you must have sat on several to 
cover that area." 

There was no reply and Max dropped back. It was 
becoming evident to him that Hope, for some reason, 
did not respond to his advances. He did not under- 
stand why, since he and June were already such good 
comrades, but Hope not only held herself aloof, but 
discouraged Molly's growing fondness for her cousin. 

The climb grew harder and steeper as they left the 
strawberry patches behind. Rocks and crackling gray 
moss and huckleberry bushes became more frequent, 



TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 55 

interspersed with occasional small trees and shrubs. 
The southern and western sides of Baldface were 
heavily wooded, but on the northern slope it was pos- 
sible to reach the summit without leaving the pas- 
tures which had been more or less cleared, except 
for a few rods up the ledges that crowned the 
top. 

They stopped at last in a blueberry patch, where the 
early varieties were already ripe; great silvery blue 
globules, the largest and sweetest seeming to grow on 
the most stunted plants. 

June and the girls wandered slowly as they picked 
and ate, but Max lay down to rest on the sloping 
mountain side. They were now at the base of the 
ledge that formed the summit of Baldface and to the 
south and east there was a wonderful view. Just be- 
low lay the village, looking like a collection of toy 
houses with a steeple in their midst. Mr. Clark, rak- 
ing hay, seemed like a good-sized ant, while his inch- 
long white horse was attached to a cart of correspond- 
ing dimensions. Lake Innisfail lay to the right like 
a sheet of glass set in tiny trees, and in front rose the 
softly rounded hills. Beyond, a stretch of the blue 
Atlantic was broken by darker patches that were really 
islands, and far to the left were the misty summits of 
Mt. Desert. 

The long, hot climb had tired Max more than he 
cared to acknowledge, for he was still not strong. 



56 WHEN MAX CAME * 

Had his aunt realized just how ill he had been dur- 
ing the previous winter, the mountain picnic would 
doubtless have been postponed to a later date. He 
was glad to rest and watch the silent hills and the 
far, blue ocean where trailing cloud shadows made 
curious patches of shade. A long, lingering streak of 
smoke showed the course of a passing steamer, though 
the boat itself had disappeared behind a headland, and 
in the offing, the sunlight was reflected from a white 
sail. 

Though he saw and keenly appreciated the beauty 
of the scene before him, Max's thoughts were far 
away. The lovely hills and lakes of Maine were thou- 
sands of miles distant from the big gray steamer down 
in the Red Sea, whither his fancy had transported 
him. By this time, Dad had probably lost at least 
two note-books and mislaid several more! He would 
find out what it was to take that trip without his 
" angel child " who, at least, had a good memory for 
such small articles, whatever his shortcomings might 
be! 

Max's revery was broken by wild shrieks from Hope 
and Anstice, who had stumbled on a snake. Though 
it was perfectly harmless and quite as frightened as 
they, the girls insisted on leaving the blueberry patch 
at once. 

Now came the only genuine climbing of the day, a 
hard scramble up bare ledges for a hundred feet or 



TO THE TOP OF BALDFACE 57 

more, so difficult that all were hot and breathless when 
they reached the storm-exposed summit. It was a 
barren spot, open to the winds of heaven, grooved by 
the glaciers of an earlier age and worn and polished 
by snow and rain. There was a westerly breeze that 
they had not felt before, and after walking around 
the mountain's crown, and counting the eleven silver 
lakes to be seen, they were glad to find a more shel- 
tered place for luncheon. 

" How hungry I am!" sighed Max as the boxes 
were opened. 

u I'm simply ravenous ! " said Charlotte. 

"Well, I'm past speaking; I'm merely suffering!" 
commented June, sinking into an attitude of feigned 
exhaustion, too feeble even to grasp the sandwich 
Hope offered. " Do you call that a sandwich ? 
You'd better give me six, or maybe nine, and then 
perhaps I can feel them in my fingers." 

" How hungry I was!" Max remarked twenty min- 
utes later when olives and cake were no longer in 
demand. 

The others smiled. Somehow, they all felt very 
well acquainted after the informal meal. 

" Isn't it curious," said Charlotte, " that you are 
never as hungry on a picnic as you think you are go- 
ing to be, and yet you can eat things you don't care 
about at home! I don't much like stuffed eggs, but 
they taste good here." 



58 WHEN MAX CAME 

Max gave an amused laugh, apparently not so much 
at what Charlotte said as at some recollection. 

"What's the joke?" inquired June. "If it's a 
story we want to hear it. What's the use of having 
a cousin who's been everywhere and seen everything 
if he never tells you about it? It's three days now 
since you came, and everything you've told us has 
been dragged out of you by violence. I'm perfectly 
exhausted asking questions! What were you grin- 
ning at?" 

" It was something Charlotte's remark reminded me 
of," explained Max, " about eating things you didn't 
like when there wasn't anything else. It isn't much 
of a story and at the time it didn't seem as funny as it 
did afterwards, but I'll tell you if you like." 



L 



CHAPTER IV 

SOME STORIES AND A THUNDER STORM 

44 X AST fall," began Max as he settled himself 
comfortably in a bed of dried moss, " Dad 
and I went to England. We had been all 
summer in Norway but Dad had business in London, 
and, as I didn't have to begin school until October, I 
was still with him. We landed in Newcastle and 
went to Durham because I had never seen the 
cathedral. Immediately, Dad met some people whom 
he knew well. They insisted that we should come 
and stop over night at their country place some 
miles out of town, so we went in the motor they sent 
for us. 

" There was quite a large party stopping in the 
house and Dad knew most of them, for he goes to 
ever so many such places. I myself was prepared to 
take a back seat, for over in England you aren't of 
much account until you're really grown up. 

" We reached the house and it was a jolly big one 
with dandy grounds and a huge park. Lady Mary 
was in the hall to welcome us, and she turned me over 
at once to her daughter Winifred. She was about my 

59 



60 WHEN MAX CAME 

age and was evidently waiting there with her mother 
on purpose to look after me. She was scared blue, 
though she was trying hard not to let me know. 

" She took me to the nursery where the other chil- 
dren were having tea. There were a lot of them, 
jolly kids, with a housemaid waiting on the table and 
the head nurse presiding over it. She was a nice, 
pleasant sort of person, but most fearfully proper. 
The kiddies made a place for me and I looked to see 
what I might devour but there wasn't a thing on the 
table but bread and milk ! " 

" Was that all they had ? " demanded Anstice in 
deep interest. 

" Tea and bread and butter were brought for the 
nurse and Winifred and me, but the kids didn't have 
even that! I never eat butter and I don't care much 
for milk, and I was hungry enough to eat a hat ! " 

" What did you do about it ? " inquired Charlotte. 
" Wasn't it impolite not to give a guest anything else? " 

" It wasn't really, because English children are very 
simply brought up and they thought me only a kid, 
too, and it would never occur to them to offer me any- 
thing they didn't think suitable for their own chil- 
dren," explained Max. " I was rather wrathy for a 
minute, but I knew I had to rise to the occasion, so 
in I sailed ! " 

" On what? " asked June. " Bread and butter? " 

" No, bread and milk. I really was frightfully 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 61 

hungry and angry, too, so I ate a whole loaf of bread 
just to astonish the kids and shock the nurse! " 

Max stopped, for even Hope was laughing. 

" Did you succeed? " asked Anstice when the merri- 
ment subsided. 

" Rather. The kiddies watched with eyes as big 
as saucers and I knew it was the most interesting thing 
that had happened to them that day. The nurse 
seemed worried and inquired if I was accustomed to 
eat so heartily at that hour. I told her I never ate 
more than a loaf at a meal, and then Winifred choked, 
and the others all caught on and began to giggle. The 
nurse rather sat on them, but after that we had a nice 
time. Winifred thawed and was no end of fun, and 
she and I and all the kiddies went and saw the ponies 
and the dogs and the deer in the park and had a great 
old frolic. There were three jolly little chaps and 
two girls besides Winifred. They had a governess, 
but she was ill that day so we could go by ourselves. 
That was all about the bread and milk, but the whole 
visit was rather funny." 

Max paused, but his audience at once demanded 
that he should continue his story. 

" The children had to go in to bed quite soon, and 
then Winifred and I walked around the rose garden. 
That was stunning ! It must be wonderful in the sea- 
son for roses. It stays light ever so long in England 
through the summer and fall, so we stopped out some 



V 

62 WHEN MAX CAME 

time and when we game in, we looked at books. At 
nine, a maid brought a tray with two glasses and 
napkins and some zwieback on a plate and a jug of 
milk." 

"What's zwieback?" inquired Anstice, who was 
lazily pulling a daisy apart. 

" It's bread that has been dried a second time in the 
oven until it is all crisp and brown. It's terribly hy- 
gienic, but I felt like a bread pudding after eating it! " 
laughed Max. 

"Winifred was sorry, but it was her bedtime, so 
she rang for a maid to show me to my room and I 
perceived that I also was expected to go to bed. It 
was a pleasant room, quite small, but very decent. I 
was awfully anxious to see Dad, so I asked the maid 
if she could show me where his room was. She 
didn't know, but she inquired of some one and showed 
me the door. It was only a speck of a way from 
mine, so after I had undressed, I put on my dressing- 
gown and took a book Winifred had lent me and 
stole down the corridor to it. It was a dandy room, 
lots larger than mine, with a jolly little fire in the grate 
and an electric reading lamp. I read quite a while 
and was just growing sleepy when I happened to look 
up and saw something that scared me perfectly stiff ! " 

" Was it a ghost? " exclaimed Charlotte eagerly. 

" No, it wasn't, but a ghost wouldn't have startled 
me any more. All over the dressing table were a lot 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 63 

of silver toilet articles that never belonged to my 
father! There was a frilly white thing spread on 
the bed and a pair of small slippers and a blue wrap- 
per that certainly weren't his ! " 

" Great Billikins ! " roared June, convulsed with 
amusement at this trying situation. 

" Go on ! " commanded Anstice. " Whose room 
wash?" 

" I never stopped to see. I bagged my book and 
fled! I rushed down the corridor as if a ghost mas 
after me ! " laughed Max. " The worst of it was that 
I never looked to see where I was going, and when 
I stopped, I hadn't the remotest idea where my own 
room was. I didn't dare open any doors and it 
wasn't any too warm promenading around attired in 
pajamas and a thin dressing-gown." 

" Oh, this is rich ! " said June, sitting up and wiping 
his eyes. " What happened next ? " 

" It wasn't so funny at the time, for I was awfully 
afraid of meeting some one, and it was one of those 
tremendous old English houses where you can easily 
get lost. I wandered around the corridor for some 
time, trying to find a door that looked like the location 
of my room. Finally a maid came from a passage 
and left the door open. She was going in the opposite 
direction, so I stole along until I could look in, 
and there was a fire and a light and in the next room, 
two little cribs with the tiniest kiddies, so I knew I had 



64 WHEN MAX CAME 

blundered on the night nursery. I sat down by the 
fire, for I was really chilled, and soon the nurse who 
had been at the table came. She didn't seem at all 
surprised to find me there, only asked at once if I 
was ill and if she could do anything for me. I told 
her I went to find my father's room and lost my own, 
and saw the babies and the fire and came in to get 
warm. She seemed troubled because I was cold, and 
offered to get me some hot milk ! " ended Max with 
a merry laugh. 

"Did you tell her you weren't a cat?" inquired 
Charlotte as the amusement was echoed by the 
others. 

" No, but I declined firmly, for I'd had milk enough ! 
She told me to stay until I was thoroughly warm and 
then she'd take me to my room. When I reached it, 
I asked her where Dad's was, and she showed me. It 
was in the same location as the one I'd been in, only 
across the hall, exactly opposite. It was then long 
after ten, and when the nurse had gone, I went to 
Dad's room. This time I made sure it was his, for 
his things were unpacked and laid out. I wanted 
awfully to see him but I was desperately sleepy, so 
I established myself in the exact center of his bed, 
thinking when he came, he'd have to wake me. The 
next I knew, it was broad daylight and Dad was asleep 
beside me. When he came up about two, he shoved 
me over one side of the bed and I never woke. I told 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 65 

him the sufferings I'd endured and the gallons of milk 
I'd drunk, and all my adventures. He thought it a 
great joke, and while we were having fun over it a 
man came to build the fire and bring tea for Dad. He 
looked more than surprised to see me there! Dad 
was such a brick ; he told the man he felt uncommonly 
hungry and asked if he could have some toast and a 
couple of eggs. The servant was as grave as a judge, 
but he evidently caught on, for he brought the eggs 
and stacks of toast and some cold meat, too! 

"After all," concluded Max, "I needn't have 
bothered him, for the kids had oatmeal porridge and 
eggs and toast for breakfast and there was bacon for 
Winifred and me. We didn't leave till after luncheon 
which Winifred and I had with the older people. It 
was a swell lunch and the people were tremendously 
interesting too, so on the whole I had a fine time. 
Still, I'd had milk enough to last me a long while!" 

" It must be great fun to travel so much," said 
Charlotte a little wistfully. " Having such interest- 
ing things happen makes it seem much nicer than just 
staying at home." 

" It isn't all fun," replied Max rather soberly. " I 
think nothing can be nicer than a real family where 
you truly belong. Sometimes I get awfully tired and 
lonesome, too, for often Dad is very busy. Some days 
he scarcely has time to speak to me, but then there are 
other times when we have great fun together, and of 



66 WHEN MAX CAME 

course I'd rather be with him, no matter how little 
time he has for me." 

"Don't you go to school?" inquired Charlotte. 

" Oh, yes ! always in the winter to a school in Rome. 
The headmaster is an Englishman and most of the 
boys are English or have English mothers. I've been 
there nearly every winter since I was eight years old, 
just a little bit of a chap. Last fall I was ill after we 
reached London, and so we had to stop there, and it 
was a long time before I could be moved. Then we 
went to the island of Jersey. Dad was simply obliged 
to go back to Rome, so he left me with some English 
people we've known a long time and I stopped with 
them till just before coming over here." 

" Tell us about them," said June, who was making 
a minute caterpillar take long and purposeless jour- 
neys over two twigs. 

" There's not much to tell. Colonel Lisle is a re- 
tired army officer and they have a lovely home outside 
the town of St. Helier's. Their only son was killed 
in South Africa during the Boer war. They have a 
daughter, Constance, about my age, and they're in 
Rome every winter so I know them well. Mrs. Lisle 
is the sweetest person you ever saw, and Connie and I 
are great chums. They were certainly good to me. 

"There is a beautiful beach at St. Helier's — the 
1 sands ' we call it — and out in the harbor is a castle 
on a rock about three-quarters of a mile from shore. 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 67 

The tide goes out ever so far and when it is low you 
can walk over on a causeway to Castle Elizabeth. 
Connie and her governess, Mrs. Ferris, and I used to 
spend hours and hours on the sands reading and watch- 
ing the children playing and paddling. One day 
after I grew stronger, Connie and I went over 
to the castle. They wouldn't let us in — it is occupied 
by soldiers — because there was scarlet fever in the 
garrison, so we sat on the rocks. The pools in them 
were full of the loveliest sea anemones, all colors. 
They were just like living flowers. When they were 
touched they would draw back their waving tentacles 
and shut in a tight ball. We gave them snails to eat. 
I suppose it was hard on the snails, but there wasn't 
anything else and Connie thought it was deceitful just 
to feed them pebbles." 

" What does Connie look like? " inquired Anstice. 

" She is fair, like most English girls, and she has 
very long, heavy, light hair that hangs over her 
shoulders as they all wear it. She is good sport, 
too. When we were in Rome she and I used to start 
with Mrs. Ferris for a walk, and somehow it often 
happened that Mrs. Ferris was inadvertently lost and 
Connie and I would poke around and explore by our- 
selves. She was a good-natured sort and hardly ever 
told of us, but unluckily on one of these occasions 
when we'd lost her, we turned a corner directly into 
Colonel Lisle and Dad ! Connie and I were sent home 



68 WHEN MAX CAME 

at once and given distinctly to understand that the 
next time Mrs. Ferris was left in the lurch, something 
unpleasant was likely to happen to both of us ! " 

"Are there English soldiers in that castle?" asked 
June. 

" Yes, Jersey belongs to England, though it's so 
near France that French is spoken ever so much. 
Many of the nuns who were expelled from France 
have taken refuge there. On clear days we could 
see the spire of the cathedral of Coutances across the 
channel. There are soldiers both in Castle Elizabeth 
and in the fort at St. Helier's. There was an early 
morning service at the English church purposely for 
the soldiers and they attended in their scarlet uni- 
forms and the band used to play. Connie and I liked 
to go to garrison service instead of the regular one." 

Max stopped to smile before continuing his tale. 
" The soldiers occupied the nave and the other people 
sat in the transepts at right angles to them, so we 
could see them plainly. Once, we had been reading 
Kipling's ' Soldiers Three ' and during the sermon 
we were trying to pick out a soldier who looked as we 
imagined Mulvaney did. We found one and were 
whispering quietly about him, both of us looking at 
him, when suddenly Mulvaney winked at us! 

" Unluckily, we both laughed and Mrs. Ferris was 
shocked. She could stand a good deal, but laughing 
in church was a fearful breach of the proprieties. 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 69 

She made me change seats with her at once and it took 
both of us most of the way home to coax her into 
forgiving us. She wouldn't go with us to garrison 
service again ! " 

" Tell us about your school," demanded Anstice. 

" I think I've already talked too much," said Max, 
coloring a little. " Dad often says that I do, and I'm 
trying to reform." 

" Don't begin now ! " remonstrated June. " We 
really want to hear. Remember we are all prosaic 
people who never have adventures. It is your plain 
duty to enlarge our horizons in a proper missionary 
spirit. Let's hear about that school. Who is the 
principal ? " 

" We call him the headmaster. His name is Thorn- 
ley." 

"Is he nice?" 

" Yes, he is ; he's entirely top-notch. He isn't mar- 
ried; I believe the girl he was engaged to died very 
tragically somehow not long before the wedding day, 
but he has the dearest old mother, with such a sweet 
face and the whitest hair! She's just like a picture 
and she always wears a lace cap and old-fashioned 
diamond rings. Mr. Thornley took holy orders and 
I think, had a charge at one time." 

" Oh, my suffering sisters ! " interrupted June. 
" Trot along that dictionary ! " 

" I know what he means," said Charlotte, catching 



70 WHEN MAX CAME 

Max's puzzled glance. " He was a clergyman and 
had a parish." 

"Yes," continued Max, "but Mrs. Thornley can't 
stay in England during the winter, and so they went 
to Rome. I think Mr. Thornley doesn't have to teach 
unless he chooses, but he is still quite young — about 
forty — and he likes boys and prefers to do something, 
so has this school. There are other English masters 
and two or three who come to teach special languages. 
The Thornleys have an apartment in the same hotel 
where Dad and I live, and when Dad's away, as he 
often is, I am with them a good deal. Mr. Thornley 
came to see me in Jersey this spring and it is possible 
that he's coming over to the States in August. If he 
does, we shall go back together. He's tremendously 
nice, only he thinks I'm lazy! I suppose I am! " ad- 
mitted Max frankly. " Sometimes he comes down on 
me rather hard about that, but next to Dad, I like 
better to be with him than with any one else. Now, 
really, I think it is time some one else talked." 

"Oh, please tell us some more about Connie!" 
begged Anstice. " How I should like to see an Eng- 
lish girl! Are they really very different from 
us?" 

" They don't have such pretty frocks as American 
girls," said Max a little shyly. " I don't know what 
the difference is, but it's so, and English girls are 
usually much harder to get acquainted with. Connie 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 71 

has lived abroad so much that she's not so awfully Eng- 
lish. She'd been in Italy so long that she was always 
forgetting that every one in Jersey could understand 
what she said. Once she and Mrs. Lisle and I were to- 
gether and Connie stopped right in front of a police- 
man and said, ' Look, Mamma ! here's a real, live, 
English bobby ! * She was terribly disconcerted when 
the policeman touched his helmet and said, ' Yes, 
miss!'" 

" And can you speak all sorts of different lan- 
guages? " asked Charlotte. 

" No, indeed ! Dad speaks about fifteen but I 
know only the ordinary ones," acknowledged Max re- 
luctantly, for somehow he did not like to admit that 
French, German and Italian came as easily as English 
to his tongue. Having spoken them since childhood, 
they cost him absolutely no effort and seemed to him 
no remarkable accomplishment. 

" I can't imagine any one ever knowing so much! " 
sighed Charlotte, whose struggles with foreign lan- 
guages were strenuous. " Fifteen ! It doesn't seem 
possible ! " 

" Uncle Rod is a marvel," said June, who for some 
time had been listening to sounds apparently on the 
other side of the summit. " I say, Max, did you no- 
tice a stone wall on the way up? " 

This innocent query brought Max to his feet with an 
exclamation in German that sounded decidedly slangy. 



72 WHEN MAX CAME 

To the surprise of the girls both he and June at once 
disappeared over the crown of the mountain. 

" Where are you going and what about a wall ? " 
called Hope, but the boys did not hear. 

" Isn't Max interesting? " remarked Anstice as their 
footsteps became inaudible. 

" I think he's awfully conceited," said Hope bluntly. 

Charlotte looked surprised. She was older than the 
other girls and owing to her father's death and her 
mother's invalidism, responsibility had fallen early 
upon her shoulders. 

" Why, Hope, did you think so? He didn't talk till 
we urged him and then he only told funny, interesting 
things in such a pleasant simple way." 

Hope's lips shut in a straight line. She knew that 
Charlotte spoke truly, but she was prejudiced against 
her cousin. 

" It must be nice," went on Charlotte, her eyes fixed 
dreamily on the distant horizon, " to be really in the 
places you've read about, where so much history was 
made, and to meet such interesting people. Just think 
of going to school, an everyday school, in Rome! " 

" Well, I suppose they have to study even if they do 
live in Rome," said the more practical Anstice. " I 
don't suppose Latin's any easier if you have seen the 
Forum ! " 

" When Nan and I were little," continued Charlotte, 
" we used to talk after we were put to bed about what 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 73 

we were going to do when we grew up, and I always 
said I wanted to live in Italy. Don't you remember, 
Nan?" 

" Oh, yes, but I didn't care much about that. I 
liked it better when you'd describe to me all the clothes 
you were going to have when you were big. Some- 
times you'd imagine them for me, and I remember how 
mad I was because you wouldn't pretend a train for 
my first ball dress ! " 

" Yes," laughed Charlotte, " you were so angry that 
you cried, and Mother came to see what the matter 
was." 

" You were awfully mean about that ball dress! I 
wanted diamonds on it and you made it with wreaths 
of roses and no train and only one measly little star 
in my hair. It was a hateful old dress and I don't 
wonder I yelled ! " 

Even after the lapse of years, Anstice seemed still 
to feel vindictive about that imaginary garment, and 
the others laughed at the warmth of her tone. 

" Did you find the stone wall ? " inquired Hope as 
the boys reappeared. 

" There is one, but it is all in piles with great gaps 
between," replied her brother. " It couldn't keep in 
an enterprising calf." 

"Is there a calf over there?" asked Anstice, pre- 
paring to pursue if the answer should be affirmative. 

"Only some sheep and Angora goats," said Max, 



74 WHEN MAX CAME 

sitting down again. " They'll be a nuisance if they 
come around." 

" We ought to build a cairn," announced Charlotte. 
" That's the proper thing on a mountain top. Every 
one must put on a stone." 

" Let's each scratch our initials on our stone," sug- 
gested June, producing his pocket knife. 

By the time the cairn was completed, it was nearly 
three, so the picnic party drank once more from the 
little spring in the ledges — a curious little spring to 
be found so high in the world — and prepared for the 
descent. 

" Why not go down through the woods? " suggested 
Hope. " It will be so much cooler, and I should think 
we would come out on the road where it curves 
around the mountain in the other direction." 

" Let's ! " agreed Anstice. " That would be fun, 
and it was so hot getting up here." 

" I suppose we can," said June, but Max was silent 
and Charlotte appeared doubtful. 

"Isn't it likely to be very rough walking?" she 
asked. 

" It doesn't look so at the start," replied June, " and 
all we have to do is just to keep going down. What 
do you say, Max? " 

" I think it would be wiser to go back the way we 
came." 

Max had scarcely spoken when Hope sprang up and 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 75 

dashed quickly into the woods. " We'll go this way ! 
Come on, it will be great fun ! " 

Anstice and June followed, but Charlotte hesitated, 
looking troubled. 

" I suppose we'd better keep together, and they've 
chosen this way," said Max, whose color had risen 
at Hope's snub. 

For some distance the descent through the woods 
was open and not at all obstructed by rocks or fallen 
timber, but before long they came to a ledge and those 
in the lead made a detour. Charlotte and Max were 
still behind, for they had not started with such energy, 
and Charlotte had stopped once to look at some beau- 
tiful moss, and Max to gather mushrooms. 

" June ! " he called as the others turned to the right. 
" Don't you think we should work to the left here? " 

" We'll get over that way as soon as it is clearer 
tramping," came June's voice already some distance 
ahead. 

" Nan ! Hope ! " called Charlotte. " Please wait ! 
I can't come so fast, and you're almost out of sight 
now." 

The younger girls did not hear, for the crackling 
twigs through which they were making their way 
rendered Charlotte's call inaudible. At the same mo- 
ment her heavy braid of hair became tangled in a dead 
branch. 

Charlotte stopped in annoyance, her effort to release 



76 WHEN MAX CAME 

herself only resulting in a worse snarl. Max came to 
the rescue, but by the time the braid was disentangled, 
the others were completely out of sight. 

Max shouted, but there was no reply, and only an 
occasional crash showed that they were still bearing to 
the right. 

" It's mean of them not to wait ! Nan knows I can't 
go as fast as she can ! " exclaimed Charlotte impa- 
tiently, when a louder call from Max remained un- 
answered. 

" I wish they wouldn't go over that way so far," 
replied her companion in some concern. He had a 
keen sense of direction and being used to finding his 
way in unfamiliar places, realized that the route on 
which the others had started was likely to bring them 
down on the farther side of Baldface. 

To try to overtake them was useless, and Charlotte 
suddenly slackened her pace. Much companionship 
with her mother had taught her to recognize fatigue 
when she saw it, and Max looked very tired. 

" We can't come up with them, so let's go as slowly 
as we choose. Oh, see all these wintergreen berries ! 
I must pick some." 

Charlotte's stratagem succeeded. Max picked ber- 
ries, but only those he could reach from a sitting posi- 
tion, and when they started again it was at a more 
moderate pace. 

They kept as far as possible to the left, but ledges 



STORIES AND THUNDER STORM 77 

forced them from their direct way and occasional 
impassable thickets caused further deviation. 

" I wish we'd had sense enough to go back the way 
we came,' , said Charlotte, stopping for her fourth 
rest. " And I believe it is going to rain. The sun is 
gone and it has grown so dark.'* 

" That certainly is thunder," replied Max as a dull 
reverberation was echoed from the hills. " Perhaps 
it won't rain much, and these evergreens are thick 
enough to make quite respectable umbrellas." 

Charlotte emptied the twigs and other debris from 
her shoes, and gave an anxious glance at the lead- 
colored sky above the trees. How quickly the storm 
had come up ! There had been only a few small thun- 
der heads when they left the mountain top. 

Another ten minutes of struggling through under- 
brush brought them to a clearing where the smaller 
growth of timber had been cut, and only large maples 
and a few pines left standing. 

The rain was coming in earnest; sharp, hard drops 
that grew faster and thicker and pattered among the 
leaves like small shot. Max caught sight of a little 
house just across an intervening field. It was a poor, 
forlorn dwelling, with rags stuffed in a broken win- 
dow, and a general air of untidiness and discourage- 
ment. Still, it would be a shelter against the coming 
storm, and as they emerged from the woods, he seized 
Charlotte by the hand. 



78 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Let's run ! We shall not get so wet and once 
there we'll be under cover." 

Charlotte ran, and they pelted across the field to 
the cottage. They were scarcely two yards from the 
open kitchen door when it was suddenly closed in their 
very faces! 



w 



CHAPTER V 

THE MYSTERIOUS COTTAGE 

"T \ T ELL, I like that ! " exclaimed Max with an 
indignant thump on the inhospitable 
barrier, while Charlotte, breathless and 
panting, stopped in amazement. 

There was no response to Max's knock, only a bolt 
grated as it was slipped from within. Max muttered 
something unintelligible to his companion and turned 
away. 

" At least we can go under the woodshed if they 
won't let us into the house. I never met anything to 
equal this ! " 

The open shed was small, attached on one side to 
the house, with a connecting door, and as the two 
sought its refuge, the key of this door was turned in 
the lock. 

" Aren't they impolite ! " exclaimed Charlotte. " I 
wouldn't go in now if they asked me to ! " 

Max was puzzled and indignant but he was also 
hot and extremely tired. " It is queer ! " he replied. 
" However, judging from its looks, we are just as 
comfortable here as we should be in the house." 

79 



80 W*HEN MAX CAME 

Charlotte found a seat on a log, and Max, after a 
glance around, turned over an empty box and sat 
looking into the storm. 

The rain was pouring in torrents ; they had not been 
a moment too soon in reaching shelter. The top of 
Bald face was concealed by clouds and all the way up 
its sides the trees were bending before the wind, while 
at intervals, white sheets of water dashed in gusts that 
cut off farther vision than the nearest grove. 

" I do so hope the others aren't out in this," said 
Charlotte when a lull made speech possible. 

" I'm sure they are not. They were going down 
faster than we and must have reached the bottom be- 
fore us. It was good of you not to hurry me." 

Max turned with a pleasant smile as he spoke. 

" I didn't want to hurry, either," replied Charlotte 
bluntly. " You've been ill, and it was hard walking 
for any one." 

" I suppose I shouldn't have gone, but it's so long 
since I've been able to do much of anything, and it's 
beastly hard to be patient — whew! that must have 
struck near by ! " 

Charlotte had started at the blinding flash and the 
instantaneous thunder clap that accompanied it. Fur- 
ther conversation was impossible, for the lull in the 
storm was followed by a perfect downpour and the 
wind was carrying the rain past the open shed in an 
almost solid sheet. 



THE MYSTERIOUS COTTAGE 81 

For some time Max's attention was concentrated on 
the storm, but as the moments passed, he had a curi- 
ous and slowly-growing impression that he and Char- 
lotte were not alone. Some subconscious sense 
warned him of another presence. 

Charlotte had resumed her seat on the split log fac- 
ing the open side of the shed. She had taken off her 
tall-crowned Mexican hat and the dampness caused 
a crowd of little curly ringlets to come into existence 
all over her rumpled hair. Her brown eyes were look- 
ing into the fast-falling rain, and her wet tan shoes 
and splashed blue skirt had collected considerable saw- 
dust from the woodshed floor, while her sweater was 
decorated with numerous small twigs gathered in the 
hasty descent of Baldface. 

Max gave Charlotte only a casual glance as he 
turned and looked carefully into the corners of the 
shed. It was piled high with sawed wood, old tools, 
and empty boxes. The only clear space was where 
they were sitting. Certainly no one was there and 
yet Max had a strong impression to the contrary. 
He cast an uneasy glance into the storm. 

" It is surely growing lighter," said Charlotte, " and 
not raining quite so fast. I counted six between the 
last flash of lightning and the thunder that followed, 
so the storm is passing farther off." 

" Yes, it is only a shower," replied Max, but as he 
spoke, he lifted his eyes above the range of the shed 



82 WHEN MAX CAME 

walls. High in the slope where it joined the house 
was a small window, and from that window, dusty and 
cobwebbed as it was, a face was watching them. 

Max glanced quickly at the unconscious Charlotte, 
who with elbow on her knee, was propping her chin 
in her hand and watching the rain on the chips out- 
side. Then he looked steadily into the eyes behind 
the pane. 

The face seemed to be that of an old man, for it 
was framed in dingy white hair, and a soiled gray 
beard covered its mouth and chin, but the eyes were 
black, brilliant, and almost weird in the intensity of 
their gaze. 

Max was courageous by nature, and experience had 
made him self-reliant, yet this discovery coming after 
their inhospitable reception struck him as peculiar, and 
the fixed gaze of those unwavering, bead-like eyes 
seemed little short of uncanny. 

Charlotte looked up the next moment, for he sud- 
denly left the box in the shed door and perched upon 
a pile of wood a trifle higher than her log and slightly 
behind it. 

" The rain is blowing in," he remarked. " See, the 
clouds are lifting on Baldface." 

In his changed seat, Max was between Charlotte 
and the window and had a better view of the face be- 
hind it. To his surprise, at his next glance, the man 
made unmistakable gestures that he should not at- 




From that window a face was watching them.-Piy^ 



THE MYSTERIOUS COTTAGE 83 

tract Charlotte's attention. The next time he looked, 
the window was blank, save for its dust and cob- 
webs, nor did he see the face again during the fur- 
ther twenty minutes they were kept prisoners by the 
shower. 

When it once began to clear, it cleared quickly. 
Blue sky appeared almost before the rain stopped; 
the hills ceased to echo the thunder; long lines of 
light came athwart streaks of rain, and almost in an 
instant the sun shone. Baldface remained dark and 
gloomy, silhouetted against the light, for the sun was 
well down in the west. 

Through the meadow wandered a path that prob- 
ably led to the road. At any rate it seemed the next 
stage on their downward progress. 

" We are in for a soaking now ! " said Charlotte. 
" Everything is dripping wet." 

Max was behind her, and she did not notice that he 
turned and looked searchingly at the front of the 
cottage. The tall grass grew up to and around the 
doorstep ; there was no walk leading to it ; and on the 
step itself, leaning against the front door, was a pe- 
culiar object that appeared to be a stone slab. Max 
noticed it with some curiosity, but he had really turned 
for a glance at the windows. Yes, in one of them, 
apparently lifted just above the sill, was that same 
face! 

It was with relief that Max saw the cottage vanish 



84 WHEN MAX CAME 

as they followed the indistinct path. He had an 
idea that he and Charlotte had narrowly escaped an 
adventure. Had he been alone, it might have been 
interesting, but in Charlotte's company, and tired as 
he felt, he was glad nothing more had happened. 

The path ended in a muddy country road bordered 
by meadows and a rolling hill. Charlotte promptly 
turned to the right. 

"Oh, please!" said Max. "Let's go the other 
way! We don't want to walk all around Baldface.' , 

Charlotte faced about questioningly. 

" I am sure we should go to the left," he added. 
" You remember the relative position of Baldface and 
the lake — really, I know we should take this direc- 
tion." 

Charlotte was doubtful, but Max's tone was half- 
playful, half-convincing. He seemed level-headed, 
and he was just as likely to be correct. She turned 
cheerfully. 

" I'm not much good at this sort of thing so I'll go 
where you say. How far do you suppose it is ? " 

" Probably not more than a mile or two, and it looks 
as if it was down hill most of the way. If I am not 
mistaken, this is the road I drove over when I came. 
I don't believe it is so very far." 

His tone reassured Charlotte. She was tired and 
footsore, but if Max, who was still more weary, could 
be cheerful over the prospect of two miles of sodden 



THE MYSTERIOUS COTTAGE 85 

road and damp bushes, she would accept the situation 
with equal calm. 

They had not gone many rods when there was a 
rattling of wheels from behind, and a muddy old 
democrat drawn by a shaggy, fat, black horse over- 
took them. The driver was an elderly man with gray 
hair and whiskers and his soft hat shaded a pair of 
kindly, shrewd eyes. As he came abreast of them he 
drew rein. 

"Don't you find it pretty dirty walking? I'm go- 
ing down to the Corners and there's plenty of room 
if you want to ride." 

" Oh, thank you! " said Max, lifting his cap. " We 
have had about all the walking we care for just now; 
we've come down Baldface." 

" Baldface, eh?" inquired the man, reaching a 
toil-worn hand to help Charlotte. " Oh, there's room 
for you too, young fellow ; the seat's fairly wide, and 
if the young lady doesn't mind being crowded a bit 
— there we are ; get along, Rapid ! " 

"What a curious name for a horse!" said Char- 
lotte. 

" So it is ! " agreed the man with a twinkle in his 
eye. " We call him that because he's so slow ! " 

Max laughed, a merry, boyish laugh, and the farmer 
looked at him with interest. 

" From the city, aren't you ? Now, might you be 
Mr. Ralston's son?" 



86 WHEN MAX CAME 

u No, I'm his nephew. My name is Hamilton. 
Did you see anything up the road of the rest of our 
party, two girls and another boy? Coming through 
the woods, we got separated." 

The farmer shook his head. " No, I didn't see 
them. How came you to try the wood slope of Bald- 
face? The pasture side is plain and easy going." 

" It wasn't very wise," replied Max, " but we went 
up the cleared side, and it's sport to come down a dif- 
ferent way, you know." 

" It's nice of him to say that," thought Charlotte, 
" when it is all Hope's fault that we did it." 

" It's mighty rough walking on this slope," ob- 
served their new acquaintance. " You're lucky not to 
have come to harm, for there's dangerous ledges in the 
woods. If the rest of your young people bore off to 
the right, they likely came down clean the other side 
of the mountain." 

" How far is that ? " asked Charlotte anxiously. 

" It's a good long walk now, surely six miles if 
they go around by the Corners and about the same this 
way. But likely they'll get a lift from somebody. 
You don't seem to be so very wet," he continued, " only 
your shoes; were you under cover when the shower 
broke?" 

Max saw a chance to learn about the mysterious 
cottage. He was not as surprised as Charlotte, when 
the man, after hearing where they took refuge, sud- 



THE MYSTERIOUS COTTAGE 87 

denly pushed back his hat and uttered an exclama- 
tion. 

" I want to know ! And you stumbled on Pete 
Lemon's place! Jehosaphat, what a joke! " 

Their new friend went into a spasm of silent laugh- 
ter that shook his whole frame. It was some sec- 
onds before he finally pulled himself together. 

" Pete's a queer cuss, but he isn't bad-hearted. 
The reason he slammed the door is that he hasn't 
spoken to a woman for nigh upon thirty years, much 
less let one into his house." 

" Is he crazy?" demanded Charlotte in horror. 

" No, Pete isn't what you'd call plain crazy, except 
on that one point. I don't know; it's a queer story 
and they tell all sorts of yarns about it, but it's a sure 
fact that he avoids a woman as if she was the evil 
one himself. He wouldn't mind the young lady's be- 
ing under the shed, but I guess it's just as well you 
didn't step into the house before he knew it." 

Max, with the recollection of those uncanny eyes 
before him, mentally agreed with the speaker. 

" What is the story ? Why does he hate women, 
Mr.—?" 

" My name's Smith, plain John Smith. You may 
have heard it before. Why, I don't know as I am sure 
of all the ins and outs of the business, but when Pete 
came here some thirty years ago, he had a pretty 
young wife. Pete was a French-Canadian and he'd 



88 WHEN MAX CAME 

drifted down this way working on the rivers rafting 
lumber. He was a well set-up young fellow, a hard 
worker, and everybody liked him. He'd married a 
girl who was pure French and she was lively and as 
pretty as a picture and just as capable as a girl could 
be. Seems like there wasn't anything she couldn't 
turn her hand to. Pete worked hard and was a good 
provider, and they were real happy together. They 
laid money by, and after a while they bought that 
house. 

" By and by the baby came, a little girl, and Pete 
was that proud of it ! They were Catholics, both Pete 
and Kitty, and they took the little thing clear to Ban- 
gor to get it baptized. 

" Nobody ever knew just what happened, but one 
stormy night in October, Ed Mason, who lived in that 
brown house we passed up yonder, was waked by a 
knocking and pounding at the door and there was 
Kitty and the baby. They let her in and she cried 
and took on, but nobody, not even any of the women 
folks, could get out of her what was the matter. The 
next day she made Ed drive her to Rockland — that 
was the nearest railroad then — and she bought a 
ticket for Montreal. 

" That was all we ever knew about her except that 
a long time after, Liza Peabody was visiting up north 
and she heard that Kitty Lemon and the baby had 
gone to France. They never came back, and from that 



THE MYSTERIOUS COTTAGE 89 

day to this, Pete Lemon has never spoken to a woman 
nor a child, and no woman has ever set foot in his 
house. I wouldn't advise any woman to take chances 
trying it, either! Annie Beach, she up and spoke to 
him once. Annie always was a daring piece! He 
looked at her as if he'd kill her in another second, and 
Annie was that scared they had to get a doctor to 
soothe her down. 

" Pete did one thing that made people think he was 
loony. He had a gravestone made, a regular slab 
such as you see in the cemetery, with Kitty's and the 
baby's names cut on it, and then the word ' Died ' and 
the date she went away. 

" When it was ready, Pete took it home and leaned 
it up against his front door and there it's been, sum- 
mer and winter, rain and shine, for these thirty years. 
Nobody's been in or out the door, and the stone's 
never been moved." 

" The poor man ! " exclaimed the sympathetic Char- 
lotte. " For thirty years ! Just think of being un- 
happy all that time ! " 

" It does seem hard," agreed Mr. Smith. " The 
neighbors at first tried to do for Pete and help him, 
but he got more and more unsociable and unwilling to 
see folks. He raises vegetables and garden sass, and 
once in a while he gets down to the store and trades 
for a little tobacco." 

" Then he will talk to men ? " Max asked quickly. 



90 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Pete isn't what you'd call free with his tongue at 
any time, but he'll most usually give a civil answer to 
a civil question. It seems queer you young folks 
should have stumbled on that one house. There isn't 
another in the township but would be glad to give you 
shelter." 

" I'm thankful we didn't see him," said Charlotte. 
" I should have been frightened." 

" I wonder whether he knows anything about his 
family," observed Max, who had been for a moment 
in a deep study. 

" Nobody can tell you that. I did hear that once 
there was an artist down at the Corners who'd been 
in France, and Pete went to see him. Of course, 
folks had it right off that he'd been asking for Kitty 
and the baby." 

" What did you say his name was, — Lemon ? " 

" Yes, that's it. They say it's really -French, Le- 
morne or something like that, but we call it Lemon." 

" Lemoine, probably," said Max thoughtfully. 
The name woke a curious little sense of familiarity 
in his mind. Where had he heard it before and 
what association had it for him? 

"Well, I turn off here," announced Mr. Smith, 
drawing up Rapid, whose leisurely gait had finally 
brought them to the cross-roads. " You haven't more 
than a ten-minute walk now. If you're ever up our 
way, drop in ; we'll be pleased to see you." 



THE MYSTERIOUS COTTAGE 91 

Charlotte and Max thanked him heartily and 
started on their brief walk with renewed spirits. They 
had met for the second time that morning, but now 
it seemed as if they must always have known each 
other. 

Just as they reached the Tylers' gate, Mrs. Ral- 
ston and Molly came down the steps and Mrs. Walker 
was sitting on the broad piazza. After the necessary 
explanations, Max and his aunt turned homeward. 

" I hope the others won't be long in coming. Max, 
my dear boy, you are as tired as can be! I ought 
not to have let you go ! Has it done you any harm ? " 

" No, indeed ! I'll be quite fit in the morning, 
Auntie." 

" You shall have some supper and go directly to bed. 
I'm surprised that June did not know better than to 
try to come down through the woods." 

Mrs. Ralston was looking anxiously at her nephew, 
but Max smiled and changed the subject. 

" You should have seen us falling down that 
mountain! I haven't had time to be amused by it 
before, but it is comical to think of the way we were 
plunging down in different directions ! Did you speak 
of supper, Auntie? I would like some, but I pro- 
test against being sent to bed! Let me stay in the 
hammock and talk with you until the others come." 

It was seven before June and the two girls appeared, 
muddy, wet and tired. As Mr. Smith thought, they 



92 WHEN MAX CAME 

had come down on the opposite side of the mountain 
in perfectly unfamiliar country. A friendly barn 
protected them during the shower, but there had been 
the long walk home on the rain-soaked roads where 
they had not been fortunate enough to get a lift. 

" You seem to have had a nice time in spite of 
everything," said Mrs. Ralston when they also had 
eaten and told their adventures. " But, June, it really 
wasn't very sensible to try that side of the mountain/' 

" I know it, Mother," June began in his placid way, 
but Hope suddenly interrupted. 

" It was altogether too tame and mollycoddlish to 
go down the easy way we went up! I can't bear to 
be so proper and priggish! Mother, I'm tired to 
death, and I'm going to bed ! " 

June looked surprised at his sister's outburst, but 
he did not connect it with the flush that crossed his 
cousin's face, nor the quiet manner in which he pres- 
ently said good-night. 

Max did not light the candle after reaching his 
room, but stood for some moments by the window, 
looking soberly at the elms outlined in black against 
a starry sky. Hope's evident antagonism puzzled him, 
for he was quite unconscious of having given her any 
cause for offence. Only that morning when he asked 
the name of a bird, new to him, though familiar to 
all the rest, Hope made a scornful side remark to 
Anstice about his not knowing much, though he had 



THE MYSTERIOUS COTTAGE 93 

been brought up in Europe. Her cousin overheard, 
but if Hope had expected to provoke a retort, she was 
disappointed. The quiet dignity with which Max 
ignored her rudeness, was due to no lack of spirit, 
but to the fact that though he had never enjoyed the 
privilege of living in the land of the Stars and Stripes, 
he had been rather carefully trained in the duty of 
being polite and considerate. 

Max was hurt as well as puzzled by her aloofness, 
for people usually liked him. This experience was 
both new and trying. Looking at the stars, he thought 
things over, and then, whistling softly, went to bed 
in an unruffled frame of mind. After all, what did 
it matter if Hope was disagreeable? Aunt Helen was 
kindness itself ; June was a chum worth having ; and 
Molly was a duck. Summer would soon pass and an 
agreement with Dad existed concerning next year. 



L 



CHAPTER VI 

ONE SUNDAY 

44 "I OOK here, June, how does a fellow get his 
boots cleaned?" Max asked on his first 
Sunday morning in Maine. 

June looked up in amusement. " Boots cleaned ? " 
he inquired, casting a glance at his cousin's russet Ox- 
fords. " What do you mean? " 

" These aren't fit for church," Max explained. " I 
want them cleaned, rubbed up, polished, don't you 
know?" 

" No, I didn't know ! " replied his cousin, grinning 
from ear to ear. " Well, I suppose on a pinch, you 
can get Mr. Tyler to yoke his oxen and take you into 
town. There is a boot-blacking place there. Being 
Sunday, though, it may be closed.' ' 

Max looked so genuinely puzzled that good-natured 
June relented. 

" Polish them yourself, old chap! That's the way 
we do in democratic America." 

" Haven't you ever polished your own boots ? " Hope 
inquired with scornful incredulity. 

" No, I never have," Max retorted, flushing a lit- 

94 



ONE SUNDAY 95 

tie at her tone. " But it doesn't follow that I can't. 
I'll have a try, anyway. Got any gum, June, or what- 
ever you do it with? " 

" Gum ! " sniffed Hope. u How do people who live 
in Europe get their boots blacked ? " 

" The servants do them," Max answered. 

"But does everybody have menservants ? " asked 
June. " You couldn't ask a woman to black your 
boots." 

" I fancy the maids do them sometimes," said his 
cousin, looking a little uncomfortable. " I say, June, 
trot out your stuff. If the constitution of the United 
States confers upon me the privilege of cleaning my 
own boots, I don't want to be kept out of my birth- 
right a minute longer ! " 

June laughed and liked his cousin all the better for 
this quick acceptance of the situation, but Hope's pride 
was up in arms at what she considered a direct re- 
flection upon their present servantless household. 

"Don't you ever do anything for yourself?" she 
demanded. 

" Oh, rather ! " said Max gravely. " I generally 
manage to clean my own teeth." 

Hope walked into the house in disdain and June 
chuckled. 

" Score for you ! " he observed, as he watched with 
approval his cousin's energetic operations. Max be- 
gan by carefully reading the directions printed on the 



96 WHEN MAX CAME 

box of polish and was achieving commendable re- 
sults. 

" Hardly fair to score off a girl," he remarked, 
thoughtfully surveying his handiwork. 

" Honestly, now, haven't you ever polished your 
boots before? " June asked curiously. 

Max shook his head. " It's different over there," 
he replied after a pause. " It's no good mixing 
things, June. There are so many more servants, and 
there are classes of people, you know. The servants 
wouldn't think you a gentleman if you did such things 
for yourself." 

" Does it make you less of one? " 

" No, of course not," said Max slowly. " It's just 
different. Dad says a gentleman adapts himself to 
circumstances. When I'm in Rome, I do as the 
Romans do. Now I'm here, I shall endeavor to fol- 
low the customs and conventions of the country as 
expounded to me by my cousin George." 

" Max, you're a sport ! " said June warmly. " Yes, 
Mother, we're almost ready." 

Hope, Mrs. Ralston and Molly started ahead along 
the pasture path that made so pleasant a walk to the 
country meeting-house. 

" It's a fierce waste of time to go to church on such 
a day," observed June as the boys followed. " I 
wouldn't go if Mother didn't want us to. Don't you 
hate to take the time? " 



ONE SUNDAY 97 

Max, in his turn, looked surprised. He had been 
brought up in the Church of England and trained to 
systematic attendance. 

" I usually go to service," he responded after an 
instant. " Why are they stopping ? Forgotten some- 
thing, Auntie? " he asked, hastening his steps in order 
to overtake the others. 

" I meant to bring paper and pencil for Molly to 
occupy herself with during the sermon," said Mrs. 
Ralston. " I left them on the porch table." 

" I'll run back and fetch them," Max volunteered 
quickly, and he was gone before June could start. 

The others sauntered slowly on, and after delaying 
for some friendly greetings among the neighbors 
gathering on the steps of the church, went in and 
seated themselves. The bell was clanging its last 
warning. 

" Max will easily find us," Mrs. Ralston remarked 
to her son and daughter. "We will leave the end 
seat for him." 

June chose to sit beside his mother, thus leaving 
Hope nearest the end of the pew. The meeting- 
house was quite well filled before Max came quickly 
down the aisle. He took the seat left for him, gave 
his aunt the pencil and paper, and to Hope's surprise 
and consternation, immediately knelt most reverently 
and devoutly. 

Hope's cheeks were flaming. With a young girl's 



98 WHEN MAX CAME 

dislike of being made conspicuous, she resented in- 
tensely the interested eyes turned upon Max from all 
sides of the church. No one else in the congrega- 
tion had knelt and Hope herself was wholly unfamiliar 
with a service requiring it. She gave a quick, dis- 
tressed glance at her mother, but Mrs. Ralston seemed 
quite unconscious of anything unusual. Presently 
Max rose, drew a small book from his coat pocket, 
and glanced to the front of the church. Apparently 
he failed to find something he expected to see, for 
after a second he looked around in a puzzled manner, 
picked up a battered volume marked " Hymns for 
Young and Old," replaced it, looked again at the 
high wooden pulpit flanked by a red plush sofa and 
two arm-chairs, gazed thoughtfully at the man in a 
black Sunday suit who had now taken his place on the 
sofa, and then, stuffing his little book into his pocket, 
leaned back with an air of detached and alert ob- 
servation. 

Hope's cheeks were still crimson as they rose and 
remained standing during a prayer, but her cousin did 
nothing more that was unusual. He had grasped the 
fact that the form of worship was not the one to which 
he was accustomed, and instantly adapted himself to 
it. But during the sermon, Hope caught his eyes fixed 
with a kind of speculative wonder upon a fearful imi- 
tation stained-glass window, upon the sill of which 
stood a kerosene lamp with drowned flies floating in 



ONE SUNDAY 99 

its odoriferous interior. That especial country church 
was nothing to Hope, and in fact, she had herself 
felt inclined to poke fun at its glaring deficiencies, 
but unreasonably enough, she resented a shadow of 
criticism from her cousin. Her annoyance flamed 
up afresh when after the benediction Max evidently 
saved himself just in the nick of time from again go- 
ing down on his knees. Hope could hardly wait for 
a chance to speak to her mother in private. 

"Mamma, wasn't that dreadful?" she burst out, 
following Mrs. Ralston into her room. " I never was 
so mortified in all my life! I do think Max might 
not have done that ! " 

" Why, Hope ! " said her mother in surprise. 
" Max did nothing out of the way. If I had stopped 
to think, I would have known that he must be ac- 
customed to a ritualistic service. It was perfectly 
natural for him to kneel. Charlotte and Anstice also 
knelt when they came in." 

Hope, in her embarrassment, had not noticed that 
fact. For a moment, it silenced her. 

" Max's doing it made us very conspicuous," she 
finally declared. 

" I don't agree with you, Hope. I thought Max 
was extremely quick to realize the different form of 
worship. Probably he did not care for the simpler 
service of our church, but he certainly joined in it with 
dignity and reverence." 



ioo WHEN MAX CAME 

Hope said nothing more, but still another incident 
occurred that afternoon to upset her equanimity. She 
had made an engagement to bathe in the lake with 
the girls and unintentionally wet her heavy hair. To 
hasten its drying she shook loose its tawny glory. 
It was soon ready to rebraid, but Hope was interested 
in a story and delayed until the boys came back from 
a tramp. Seeing her on the porch, Max suddenly 
stopped short. 

" Oh, Hope," he exclaimed, " how wonderful your 
hair is! It's like my mother's. I used to play with 
hers when I was a kiddie. Will you let me touch it 
just a minute? " 

" No, of course not ! " Hope snapped. 

Max looked as though the screen door she slammed 
behind her had actually struck him in the face. June 
stood in uncomfortable silence, not knowing how to 
deal with this situation. Even across his unimagi- 
native mind flashed a realization of that dead young 
mother and the child who had loved her beautiful 
hair. 

The next moment Max turned on his heel. " Let's 
go on the lake," he suggested, though not in quite 
his usual manner. " It looks as if there might be a 
dandy sunset." 

In her own room Hope resentfully combed her hair. 
She knew it was like Aunt Edith's; her mother had 



ONE SUNDAY 101 

often told her so, but that was no reason Max should 
have the impertinence to ask to touch it. 

" Max is too queer for anything ! " she thought 
angrily. " I just can't stand his English ways. I 
can't endure the way he calls a pitcher a * jug ' and 
says ' taffy ' for candy, and the way he drawls 
1 Rather ' or ' I should say ! ' when he's asked a ques- 
tion. He calls ' Look sharp ! ' when he wants any one 
to hurry, and nobody understands the slang he uses! 
I can't see why June thinks it funny. It isn't! I 
never know what Max means, and then he grins. I 
can't, for the life of me, see why people find his odd 
ways of saying and doing things so attractive. Even 
Mother thinks them charming. But / think they're 
just plain queer ! " 



CHAPTER VII 

THE OPEN ROAD 

JUNE sat on the boathouse steps, whistling softly 
as he surveyed the shining lake. The radiant 
morning seemed borrowed from early Septem- 
ber, so fresh and clear was its air, so entrancingly 
clean-cut its sunlight and shadow. The birds alone 
belonged to midsummer. Upon them the cares of life 
were pressing; they lacked their spring joyousness 
or the freedom that comes with autumn. 

" June/' said his cousin's voice from behind, " this 
is a day when one feels like stepping only on high 
places. A wanderlust seizes upon me. Let us ' go, 
go away from here ! ' " 

"Where shall we go?" June grinned, but falling 
in with his cousin's gay mood. 

" More fun to go with no plan at all," Max re- 
turned. " Let's leave it to the ' spirit in our feet,' " 
he added whimsically. 

" My toes haven't got that germ ! " June retorted 
dryly. " I wish we had a motor-car! " 

Max silently echoed the wish. To sit at the wheel 
of a fast car and strike a straight line for the distant 



THE OPEN ROAD 103 

horizon would exactly have fitted his present frame 
of mind. Were he in Rome, he could order out Dad's 
motor and betake himself to the wide campagna. 
Probably Dad wouldn't let him go without the chauf- 
feur, but what of that? Here, one didn't have for 
the mere desiring, a car, either with or without a 
chauffeur, or even the saddle-horse that also was at 
his disposal in Italy. Life on this side of the At- 
lantic was different in some respects, even to one who 
was accustomed to vacations of an unusual order. 

Max suppressed a sigh. After all, tramping wasn't 
half bad and one could always tramp. And if they 
stuck to fairly level ground, probably he wouldn't get 
so confoundedly fagged as he had on Baldface. 

" Let's start," he suggested. " We'll tell Auntie not 
to expect us until she sees us." 

u Lunch ? " queried June. 

" No lunch," Max decreed. " A true adventurer 
fares forth with empty pockets." 

" And probably gets an empty stomach as well," 
said his cousin. " But there are always berries and 
apples. You're it, so what you say goes. Let's take 
Hope, for the other girls have company and she'll be 
alone. Polly Anne!" he shouted, catching sight of 
his sister's sailor blouse in the distance. 

Max made no spoken remonstrance, but his expres- 
sion changed. He was sensitively aware of Hope's 
critical attitude, and being no saint, only a very human 



104 WHEN MAX CAME 

boy, was beginning to resent it. But perhaps Hope 
wouldn't care to go. 

Hope, however, also felt the charm of the morning 
and agreed pleasantly to the plan suggested. 

"Expect us when we appear, Mother! " June an- 
nounced. " We may be home for dinner and we may 
seek our fortunes. ' It may be a day and it may 
be forever ! ' " 

" I hope not ! " his mother responded, smiling. 
" Good-by and a pleasant walk." 

The three started, each happy in a different way: 
June because he loved all active exercise; Hope be- 
cause her brother wanted her, and Max because he 
felt the joy of the morning and the call of the open 
road. 

" June," he inquired mischievously, " do you ever 
write poetry? " 

" I'm not such a fool. Do you ? " 

Max laughed. " If I did, do you think I'd ac- 
knowledge it now ? " he inquired, quite unconscious 
of the sudden glance Hope gave him. " Look here, 
let's leave the road and go over this hill. See those 
stunning pines on the sky-line." 

"Oh, wait!" Hope exclaimed. "Isn't that the 
dearest kitten ? " 

" A yellow coon kitten," said June, looking at the 
fuzzy ball by the farmhouse gate. " It looks like a 
tiny lion." 



THE OPEN ROAD 105 

"'A little lion, small and dainty sweet, — 
For such there be, — 
With sea-gray eyes and softly stepping feet, 
She prayed of me — '" 

Max murmured, apparently to himself. 

"Did you write that?" June demanded with a 
chuckle. "'Fessup!" 

" Not I ! " Max denied, coloring under the teasing 
tone. He had not intended either cousin to overhear. 

Hope petted the kitten thoughtfully, her attention 
still held by the fascinating and unfamiliar lines. 

" Who did write it ? " she asked at length, though 
reluctant to express any interest. 

" An old chap who lived some centuries B. C.," Max 
replied. " I forget his name. Indeed, I'm- not certain 
any one ever knew it." 

" What are you giving us now ? " June inquired 
cheerfully. 

" Fact. It's a translation from an old Greek 
poem." 

"If you didn't write it, did you translate it?" his 
cousin demanded as Hope put the kitten down and 
they started again on their walk. 

" Not on your life! I don't translate Greek unless 
they make me. Connie found it somewhere in Eng- 
lish. She's perfectly dippy over poetry so she made 
me read it, too. The chap who speaks is telling how 
a girl named Arsinoe wanted him to go to Egypt and 



106 WHEN MAX CAME 

get her a 'little lion/ He wouldn't, so she turned 
him down for the other fellow, ' far-traveled Nicias ' 
who ' wooed and won her with gift of furry creatures 
from oversea.' And you know, I think it was a pretty 
cheeky thing to ask him to go to Egypt just for a 
cat!" 

Hope asked no further questions and made no com- 
ment, but obstinately refused to admit to her mind 
the slightest suggestion that she and her cousin might 
possess some tastes in common. 

Their ramble led them over the hill Max wished to 
mount, around a small lake, through several pastures, 
down a steep ledge and into a wood where a shallow 
brook gurgled over scattered stones. In crossing, 
Hope slipped from a stone and was wet to her knees, a 
mishap to which neither she nor June gave a second 
thought. The matter-of-fact manner in which June 
reached a hand to help her out of the precarious posi- 
tion and the calm with which Hope ignored her soaked 
feet and merely wrung the water from her skirts, 
rather aroused Max's admiration. 

Twelve o'clock found them in a beautiful grove of 
pines, miles from home. 

" Time to eat ! " June announced. " Max, where's 
your promised food ? Trot out your tame ravens ! " 

" We were crazy to come without lunch ! " Hope 
grumbled, realizing that she was tired and extremely 
hungry. " We'll be starved before we can get home. 



THE OPEN ROAD 107 

And I hope one of you knows the way back, for I 
don't!" 

u I thought we'd strike a village where we could 
buy bread and cheese," said Max. " But there's a 
house, and a nice, tidy little place it looks! We'll 
step up and see what's on for dinner." 

Hope stared at him in horror. " Max, you can't ! " 
she exclaimed. " They'd be insulted ! " 

" Why ? " her cousin inquired. " When Dad and 
I are tramping, we stop anywhere and get things from 
the peasants. Often it's only bread, but they are al- 
ways glad to let us have it." 

Hope's cheeks flamed. " These people aren't 
peasants ! " she snapped. 

" I know they aren't," Max replied, " and that's 
why I'm expecting more of a dinner! " 

" But you mustn't ask them ! " insisted Hope, stop- 
ping in dismay. " June, do tell him he can't ! " 

June would not interfere. He, too, was hungry, and 
moreover had an amused conviction that his cousin 
would succeed where another might fail. 

" I never did it," he admitted, " but what's the harm 
in asking? They can only refuse." 

" I'm no beggar ! " Hope retorted. 

A flash came into Max's eyes. He deliberately 
surveyed his own person, looked the other two over 
from head to foot and shrugged his shoulders, a ges- 
ture condemned by Hope as exasperatingly " queer." 



108 WHEN MAX CAME 

" I had a slight intention of paying for what we ate," 
he remarked gently to the distant horizon. 

" There's no harm in trying it, Sis," observed June. 
" I'm hungry enough to eat a hedgehog. Go ahead, 
Max; I'll hold your hat. But don't be disappointed 
if they turn you down." 

Hope choked back another remonstrance and re- 
luctantly followed the boys. Max opened the side 
gate of the little cottage, disclosing a brick walk that 
led to a vine-shaded porch. Beds of flowers bordered 
the path, for the most part, old-fashioned posies ; holly- 
hock, gillyflower and balsam, but just by the doorstep 
stood a magnificent clump of golden iris, a truly regal 
display. Admiring it, Max forgot his errand and his 
proximity to the house. 

" O bright yellow angel ! " he suddenly exclaimed, 
his hands dramatically clasped as he struck an absurd 
attitude. 

"For the land's sake!" came a voice from the 
shaded porch. " Is the boy crazy? " 

Max gasped and stepped backward, colliding with 
his cousin, who snorted convulsively and in his turn, 
stood on Hope's toes. The whole group retreated a 
pace in disorder. 

" What's that you said ? " asked the same voice as 
a thin, meager woman rose from a rocker behind the 
vines. 

" Ah, pardon, Madame ! " said Max, in his excite- 



THE OPEN ROAD 109 

ment, giving the words their French pronunciation. 
" I merely spoke to the flowers ! " 

" So I thought ! " retorted the woman quickly. " I 
didn't think you meant me ! " 

June chuckled outright and Max stared in dismay, 
quite disconcerted by this comment. 

" Well, what did you want ? " she went on. " Come 
up out of the sun. How the young folks can 
run around without their hats beats me, but they all 
do it. Seems to be a sign of age when you have to 
cover your head. Did you want some water to 
drink ?" 

" We wanted more than that," Max replied per- 
suasively. " We've tramped the whole morning, 
came over from Bex ford. We started just for fun 
and there hasn't been any village. I thought perhaps 
you'd let us buy some bread and milk, whatever you 
happen to have, because we're rather keen, — er, 
hungry ! " 

" I should say you were ! " commented the woman. 
" Something must be the matter with a boy who calls 
a lily a bright yellow angel ! Tisn't natural ! I can't 
give you much," she added, looking at him with a pair 
of twinkling eyes, " because I haven't much in the 
house. But if bread and butter and some eggs will 
do for your dinner, — just what I was going in this 
minute to get for myself, — why you can have it and 
welcome ! " 



no WHEN MAX CAME 

" Even less will do me ! " declared Max, glancing 
at his cousins. 

" That sounds mighty good ! " June grinned, and 
Hope, though she made no comment, looked less for- 
bidding. 

" Sit down on the porch then," directed the woman, 
" or no, maybe it's cooler in the sitting-room. Just 
come in," she added, opening the screen door and look- 
ing a little curiously at the way both boys stood aside 
for her and Hope to enter. 

The low-ceiled room into which they were ushered 
was dark and would have been stuffy save for the 
fragrant breath admitted by the open windows from 
the garden below. Hope, tired with her long walk, 
sank into a plush-covered rocking chair; June's at- 
tention was caught by two atrocious crayon portraits 
evidently enlarged from photographs poor in them- 
selves. After giving them grave consideration, he 
shook his head solemnly and sat down to peruse the 
" Ladies' Home Journal," apparently the sole litera- 
ture afforded by the house. 

Max, having surveyed the ugly room at a glance, 
turned to the one object in it that seemed to appeal 
to him, an old square piano. Hope looked on disap- 
provingly as he opened it. No music was in evidence, 
except a battered hymn book, but Max did not need 
a printed score. Sitting down, he ran his fingers 
tentatively over the keys, finding to his surprise that 



THE OPEN ROAD Mi 

the instrument was in fairly good tune. As he struck 
experimental chords along the length of the keyboard, 
the pale face of their hostess appeared in the door- 
way. 

"Do you object to my playing ?" Max instantly 
asked. 

" I'd like nothing better than to hear you," was the 
prompt reply. " Music is always a treat to me. You 
see I can't play myself," she added cheerfully, holding 
out her left hand. " I fell on the ice half a dozen 
winters ago, and broke my wrist. The doctor didn't 
set it right and it's been stiff ever since. I can man- 
age to get my housework done up, but that's all. 
Sometimes Florrie Smith, who lives down the road a 
piece, comes in and gives me a tune. But I never saw 
a boy who could play the piano before." 

Max smiled. The chords he had been idly striking 
changed into the glorious processional of Wagner's 
pilgrims, strange music indeed in that country parlor. 
It held spellbound the listener in the doorway. Not 
until the last note died away did she turn and vanish 
with a sudden exclamation. 

u I didn't know you could pound the ivories like 
that, Max," June observed. "Why didn't you tell 
us you were an infant prodigy? " 

" Because I'm not ! " declared his cousin cheerfully. 
" You should hear my chum Louis play. Nobody 
wants to hear Max when Lou is around." 



ii2 WHEN MAX CAME 

Hope was silent. She knew enough about music 
to realize that her cousin was not only playing well, 
but playing because he loved it. 

"Have you taken lessons a long time?" she in- 
quired abruptly. 

" I've had only a few lessons on the piano. I was 
taught the violin when I was a kiddie. This I've 
really picked up from hearing Louis. He's a won- 
der." 

Max spoke very simply and naturally, but Hope, 
hungry and tired, instantly attributed his modesty to 
conceit. " He knows he plays well ! " she thought, 
" and he's fishing for compliments." 

" Why didn't you bring your violin ? " she de- 
manded suspiciously. 

" I wish I had," Max answered rather soberly. " I 
didn't know I should miss it so. My violin is one of 
the things I love best and this spring I tried to play 
before I was strong enough. The doctor, instead of 
realizing that it did me up only because I wasn't quite 
myself, took it into his idiotic head that the music 
was bad for me, so everybody figuratively sat down on 
my violin, and I wasn't permitted to play. If Dad 
had been there, he would have understood, but the 
others didn't. But even Dad didn't wish me to prac- 
tise this summer and thought perhaps it was just as 
well that my violin was left in St. Helier's. I smell 



THE OPEN ROAD 113 

those eggs ! " he continued abruptly. " I hope they 
are plentiful for I could do with several myself." 

" It's all ready! " called their hostess, " and I guess 
you're ready for it." 

"I am!" June replied promptly. "Come, Polly 
Anne!" 

• Hope led the way into the sunny kitchen. Its red 
covered table was laden with bread and butter, a big 
pitcher of milk, doughnuts, an apple-pie, cheese and a 
platter of fried eggs. The china was heavy and the 
knives and forks battered, but both were clean, and the 
food looked most appetizing to the hungry trio. 

" My name is Wade, Lizzie Wade," their hostess 
said in reply to a shy question from Hope. " I've 
lived here all alone ever since Father died, ten years 
ago, now. Yes, it is lonesome in the winter, 'spe- 
cially when the snow drifts in so I can't get out to 
meeting. But there, you don't know, you young folks, 
what it is to be lonely ! " 

Miss Wade chatted on, sometimes asking a question, 
but for the most part doing the talking herself and 
permitting them to enjoy the welcome luncheon. 

" Would a quarter be too much? " she asked doubt- 
fully, when they had finished and were proffering pay- 
ment. 

Max hesitated. Still unfamiliar with the coinage 
of his own country, he was honestly puzzled as to 



ii4 WHEN MAX CAME 

the exact value of the " quarter " mentioned. Hope, 
noticing the pause, misunderstood its reason. 

" Well, Max is close-fisted ! " she thought with 
scornful disgust. 

" A quarter isn't enough, Miss Wade," said June, 
coming to the rescue. " I've eaten more than the 
worth of that myself.' ' 

"Is this a quarter?" Max inquired, balancing a 
coin on his finger. " That's about equal to a shilling? 
No, of course it isn't enough ! " 

Her cousin's ready acquiescence should have re- 
moved the unjust suspicion from Hope's mind, but 
she refused to credit him with any other motive for 
hesitation than that of stinginess. 

" For the land's sake ! " Miss Wade interrupted, 
" don't you know a quarter-dollar when you see one ? 
Where were you raised ? " 

In spite of herself, even Hope smiled at the vol- 
canic curiosity expressed by the tone of the question. 

" My parents were both Americans," Max replied 
laughingly, understanding her meaning, though its ex- 
pression was wholly unfamiliar. " I was born in 
Italy, and I've always lived in Europe. I came to the 
States Monday two weeks, to visit my cousins." 

"Well, that accounts for it!" Miss Wade sighed 
with the air of one who has solved a hard problem. 
" It didn't rest easy on my mind. But it's all clear 
now. I've heard that Italians had queer ways of 



THE OPEN ROAD 115 

talking, and perhaps they do believe that flowers have 
souls. And your playing the piano! Yes, that ac- 
counts for it all ! " 

Her satisfaction was so evident and so complete 
that they laughed again. 

11 But I can't take that ! " she exclaimed, noticing the 
dollar Max had tucked under his napkin. "If you 
want to pay me fifty cents, you can, but I wouldn't 
feel honest to take that much." 

" But there are three of us, Miss Wade, and the 
luncheon is surely worth a shilling — I mean a quar- 
ter, apiece, and it is a favor that we have it at all," 
Max expostulated gently. 

" I couldn't take it ! " Miss Wade replied with the 
same decision. " You can pay me the half dollar if 
you feel it is worth it, and perhaps," she hesitated 
a second, " perhaps you'll play another tune now I 
can sit down and give my mind to it." 

" I'll play gladly, but that is only a pleasure to 
me," Max declared. 

" I like the kind of pieces you play," their hostess 
observed when the palace of music built by a Beetho- 
ven sonata had vanished into silence. " Florrie only 
knows jiggy songs." 

Max made few comments as he played for the better 
part of an hour, but he paid his listener the compli- 
ment of giving her good music. Not all was clas- 
sical, but all was worth hearing, and musical Hope 



u6 WHEN MAX CAME 

appreciated this fact, though wild horses could not 
have drawn from her an expression of enjoyment. 
June, for the first time in his cousin's company, 
was bored. Florrie's " jiggy songs " would better 
have pleased his ear. 

" Max, we ought to be going," he said at length. 
" We mustn't keep Mother guessing too long." 

" Right, oh ! " agreed Max, striking a final crashing 
chord. " My word ! " 

Before any one knew what was happening, the 
pianist landed on the floor with a thud, among the 
fragments of the collapsed stool. 

" You'll permit me to pay for this at least ! " he ob- 
served as he arose from the ruin. 

" Land ! it's only come unglued ! " Miss Wade re- 
plied cheerfully. " It does that quite frequent, but 
I did think I'd got it stuck together for good this 
time. I hope you're not hurt. Only last week it sent 
Florrie sprawling ! " 

The philosophical calm with which she announced 
these recurrent accidents quite upset the gravity of 
the party. They made their farewells with merry 
smiles on both sides. 

By the road, Bexford lay surely eight miles away, 
a distance increased by the detours of the early after- 
noon. Later, Max grew tired and more willingly kept 
to the road. The end of the day found both boys 
quite as happy as its beginning, but not Hope. At no 



THE OPEN ROAD 117 

time had she been talkative, but with the passing hours 
she grew more and more silent. Though June had 
wanted her company, his attention proved divided, and 
from Hope's point of view the expedition was 
scarcely a success. She could not share her brother's 
amused enjoyment of Max's ways and words, and she 
dubbed as " silly " the light-hearted joyousness with 
which he tried to enliven the tramp. Not for an in- 
stant did she guess that Max could have been still 
more charming as a comrade, had she responded to 
his mood. Strange to say, the suspicion that her 
cousin might care about things she liked, books and 
music for instance, only intensified her determination 
to leave him entirely alone. June's careless remarks 
made that day in the boat could not so easily be for- 
gotten. 

Not far from home, Hope sat down to remove a 
pebble from her shoe. Engaged in this operation, she 
scarcely noticed an old man who passed on the other 
side of the road, receiving only an impression of sharp 
black eyes set in a face surrounded by dingy white 
whiskers and hair. When she again rose to her feet, 
June was poking a stick into a hole strongly suspected 
of being a woodchuck's front door, and Max stood 
looking after the passer-by. 

Something in her cousin's attitude caught Hope's 
attention. In reality, he seemed arrested, — struck by 
some sudden thought, but Hope noticed only the con- 



u8 WHEN MAX CAME 

trast between his erect, youthful figure in a trim blue 
serge Norfolk suit and the bent, shabbily-dressed old 
man, who nevertheless showed indications of having 
once been strong and straight. 

For a moment, Max stared after him, and then, 
deep in thought, joined his cousin. That man was 
certainly the inmate of the mysterious cottage where 
he and Charlotte took refuge, about whom Mr. Smith 
told that long and rather pathetic story. His name 
was Lemon, or rather, Lemoine. And what was the 
dim association with which that name persistently 
tantalized his memory? 



CHAPTER VIII 

ON THE WAY TO THE POST-OFFICE 

MRS. Ralston, as she seated herself by the vine- 
shaded south window of the living-room, 
glanced with interest at the group of young 
people on the porch. A gentle rain was falling, just 
enough to prevent any outdoor sport, but Charlotte 
and Anstice, fortified with overshoes and umbrellas, 
had come up the road to spend the afternoon with 
Hope. 

Evidently some game was just ended, for the chairs 
from which the girls had risen were pushed irregu- 
larly away from the folding sewing-table which had 
been borrowed from Mrs. Ralston's room. Max was 
leaning back, balancing his chair on its two rear legs 
while June was tipped in the opposite direction over 
the table, still intent upon the cards spread before 
him. Charlotte had taken Molly and a kitten on her 
lap. Rather, she had taken Molly, and Daffy, being 
to all purposes an undetachable piece of Molly's 
chubby person, had naturally come also. Anstice and 
Hope were on the step below, sheltered by the wide 
eaves from the rain, busily comparing notes on the 

119 



120 WHEN MAX CAME 

fancy work which received only fitful attention from 
either. Hope disliked to sew, and Anstice, as a rule, 
tired of her work before it approached completion. 
Charlotte usually came to the rescue, so Anstice felt 
free to give full scope to all her fancies, since her 
sister's patient fingers were almost sure to bring order 
out of chaos and an end to many half -finished bits of 
needlework. 

" ' And so the wee baby upon the tree-top,' " 

sang Charlotte in a sweet, true voice as she cuddled 
Molly. 

" I give that up ! " said June, straightening his back 
and bringing his chair legs to earth again. M It's a 
clever trick. I see how it is done, but I don't see why 
it is so." 

" No more do I," replied Max lazily. " It always 
comes out that way, but I've never been able to find the 
reason. ,, 

" For some time I have thought that your brains 
were deteriorating," observed his cousin. " The way 
you get up from bed and bolt straight into the lake 
is dangerous for any one's head. It is evidently too 
much for yours. And by the way, Max, Mother 
doesn't allow Molly to take the kittens to bed with her. 
This morning you had them both, one wrapped round 
one ear and the other across your throat ! You mustn't 
take them again unless she says you may." 



ON WAY TO POST-OFFICE 121 

Molly looked up suspiciously, her attention caught by 
mention of the beloved pussies. 

" It wasn't my fault they came, for you left the 
house door open/' laughed Max. " Besides, they 
weren't in bed with me; they were merely applied ex- 
ternally. Next time they come, I shall shy them at 
you. The little wretch across my throat made me 
dream he was a poltergeist." 

"A which?" inquired Charlotte, breaking off in 
her song. 

" We used to have one of those," June remarked 
gravely, " but we always made it sleep in the cellar." 

" Oh, shut up ! " exclaimed Max merrily while 
Charlotte repeated her query. 

" I don't know exactly what it is in English," re- 
plied Max in a puzzled tone as he stopped laughing. 
" It's what you call an elemental ; a spirit that is earth- 
bound." 

" Max," inquired June "solemnly, " have you been 
brought up under Christian influences? " 

" I'm under the impression that I have been," 
grinned his cousin. 

" Well, I'm glad to hear it. I was afraid you might 
be a heathen. Never before have I heard of elemen- 
tals ! Don't you dare spring anything like that on us 
again without fair warning! It strikes me it is time 
to go for the milk." 

" I was just wondering which of my boys I should 



122 WHEN MAX CAME 

send on that errand," said Mrs. Ralston, leaning from 
the window. " I know it usually takes both to get 
the milk, but to-night I wish some one would go to 
the Corners for the mail." 

"Oh, Mamma, I'll go for the letters!" Hope ex- 
claimed. " I can manage without getting wet and Fd 
like the walk. Nan will come with me, won't you, 
Nan?" 

" I am afraid there isn't time for her to go," said 
Charlotte. " Everything is so wet that you'll have to 
go round by the road, and we have supper at six. 
Mrs. Tyler doesn't like us to be late." 

" No, I suppose not," agreed Anstice. " She never 
says anything, but her back is just as stiff ! She has a 
very expressive back." 

" Then Hope and Max might go for the mail while 
June gets the milk," suggested Mrs. Ralston. 

"Why mayn't Molly and I get the milk?" asked 
Max. " It isn't too far for her to walk and I'll try 
not to let her get wet. She hasn't had much out- 
doors to-day; mayn't I take her, Auntie?" 

Molly sprang from Charlotte's lap with a gleeful 
shout and flung both arms around her cousin's neck. 

" She'd love to go, Max, but I'm afraid you will 
find her a bother." 

" Mollykins, do you hear that ? Let's collect your 
— er — rubbers, and don't choke me! You're worse 
than your kitten." 



ON WAY TO POST-OFFICE 123 

The farmhouse from which the milk came was on 
the road beyond the Tylers' so Max and the two girls 
started, with Molly clinging tightly to her cousin's 
hand on one side and Charlotte's on the other. Their 
progress was somewhat impeded by her desire to swing 
between the hands she clasped, a process that threat- 
ened disaster to her rompers. The rain was no 
longer falling and faint sun rays from behind Bald- 
face indicated a pleasant to-morrow. 

The way to the postoffice was in the opposite direc- 
tion. Ordinarily a short cut was possible, through 
woods and pastures that bridged the angle around 
which the road led. To-night the path was too wet 
to be attempted and Hope and June each took a side 
of the road, finding a narrow, hard margin between 
its muddy center and the soaking grass and bushes. 
June was whistling softly as he walked with hands 
in his pockets and his brown hair disordered by the 
evening breeze. 

" Wasn't Max funny with his poltergeist? " he ob- 
served with a reminiscent chuckle. 

" I didn't see anything funny," replied Hope dryly. 

"Now, miss, what's the matter with you?" June 
demanded, casting a glance across the narrow road. 

" Nothing ! " answered his sister stiffly. She con- 
tinually slighted Max, almost openly, but her cousin 
had never before shown that he noticed. His quick 
request for Molly as a companion seemed very marked 



i2 4 WHEN MAX CAME 

to Hope. Though she knew she had often been un- 
kind, this first indication of avoidance on his part hurt 
her pride. 

" I thought it was funny ! " went on June, quite 
unconscious of the state of affairs. " Max is corking 
good company. I've never been so entertained before 
in all my little life. I do wish Uncle Rod would let 
him stay and go to school with me this winter. His 
being here makes the summer no end jollier/' 

Hope suddenly stopped short, her face flushed and 
her eyes filling with tears. Her brother's words 
seemed the last thing she could possibly bear. 

" I think I'll go back. We've left Mother alone." 

Hope was too innately truthful not to acknowledge 
to herself the falsity of this excuse as soon as it was 
spoken. 

" Anyway, I don't want to go," she added quickly. 

June faced about in some perplexity. He was too 
familiar with Hope's tempests not to realize that storm 
signals were flying. 

" Oh, come along, Polly Anne ! What did I say 
that you didn't like?" 

June was unwise to ask the question, for Hope 
turned on him impatiently. 

" It's been perfectly horrid ever since Max came ! 
I never had such a miserable vacation before ! " 

A burst of tears choked further utterance, and re- 
gardless of the dampness of the stone wall, Hope 



ON WAY TO POST-OFFICE 125 

leaned upon it and hid her face. June stood look- 
ing at her undecidedly, for whatever he did was 
almost certain to be the wrong thing. Moreover, as 
he seldom lost his own temper and was not easily ruf- 
fled by trifles, he found it difficult to understand why 
his sister took everything so seriously. 

" It's all Greek to me what you've got into 
your head about Max, Polly Anne!" he commented 
bluntly. " He started to be just as nice to you as to 
the rest of us. You and Fve always been such chums 
that I can't see why you won't take him in, too, but 
you haven't been half-way decent sometimes. I don't 
wonder he feels as he does." 

" Oh, if you've discussed the matter — " began Hope 
angrily. 

" I don't discuss my sister with any boy," responded 
her brother with dignity. " Max has never said one 
word about the way you treat him. I've used my own 
eyes." 

Hope made no reply ; she was crying with her head 
on the wall. After a moment June came over beside 
her. 

" Polly Anne," he said coaxingly, " do stop , and 
come along and let's have a nice time the way we al- 
ways do. It's beastly when you feel this way. Max 
is such a brick that I can't see why you won't be decent 
to him and have everything pleasant and jolly." 

June paused for the response that did not come. 



126 WHEN MAX CAME 

11 You made up your mind not to like him before you 
ever saw him," he continued. " I think it's queer 
that Mother hasn't noticed how you snub him." 

" You may tell her if you like," retorted Hope. 

" I can't see that it would do any good," replied 
June, taking her words literally, " but there is one 
thing, Hope ! When Father comes he is sure to see that 
something is wrong. He thinks everything of Uncle 
Rod and has wanted Max to come before. You'd 
better stop short off! There'll be no hiding it from 
him ! " 

" George Ralston, don't you speak to me again ! " 
exploded poor Hope. 

" All right ! " said June abruptly. " I'm going for 
the mail." 

The country road was absolutely deserted and very 
quiet save for a saucy squirrel that peered around a 
bough and scolded at unhappy Hope, half-sitting, half- 
lying on the wall under the big walnut. It was damp 
and hard, but in her present frame of mind, Hope 
welcomed its discomfort. 

Presently she sat up, still absorbed with her own 
unpleasant thoughts and unconsciously began to strip 
the leaves from a near-by bush. Molly was already 
devoted to Max, and June had remarked how much 
pleasanter the summer was since he came. Poor 
Hope! There were few leaves left on the little tree 
when she finally slid from the wall and turned slowly 



ON WAY TO POST-OFFICE 127 

toward home. Her head ached and her eyes felt hot 
and swollen; what explanation could she give her 
mother ? 

Fortunately Mrs. Ralston was busy and did not 
notice her daughter's tear-stained face. Hope went 
to her room to bathe her eyes and witnessed the ar- 
rival of Max and Molly; the latter a sad mass of 
mud. 

"Auntie, just look at her! I didn't mean to let 
her fall, but somehow she did ! " Max said in laughing 
apology. 

" Never mind, dear ; she isn't hurt. I'll take her 
rompers and sandals off out here. I think Hope just 
went to her room ; will you ask her for Molly's wrap- 
per and slippers? We'll let you come to supper in a 
kimono; won't that be funny? " she added to Molly. 

Hope made no reply to her cousin's request, but 
handed Molly's small garments to him and closed the 
door almost in his face. 

"What's the matter, dear?" asked Mrs. Ralston, 
catching a sober look on her nephew's expressive 
countenance as he sat down beside her. Max smiled 
and took Molly's pink foot in his hand. 

" Molly and I thought maybe we would both be 
sent to bed," he said whimsically. 

Mrs. Ralston gave him a second glance. The re- 
ply seemed to her evasive, but Max was laughing at 
Molly and the thoughtful expression had vanished. 



128 WHEN MAX CAME 

" There comes June ! " he exclaimed. " I hope 
I've some letters." 

June was waving a handful of mail and papers. 
" Two for mother — both from father ; three more 
from unknown people ! Hope has one — where is she ? 
Max gets the lion's share, seven letters for Maxfield 
R. Hamilton, Esq. I hope you're satisfied ! " 

Max had no time for reply. One thin, foreign cor- 
respondence envelope bore his address in his father's 
peculiar and individual penmanship and he had torn 
it open at once. 

"Please, may we have supper?" demanded June a 
little later. 

Neither mother nor cousin looked up from the en- 
grossing letters. June secured a tin pan and a couple 
of clothespins and proceeded to sound an alarm that de- 
lighted Molly and roused his mother from her preoc- 
cupation. 

"What a racket, June! Yes, we'll have supper. 
Max, can the rest of your mail wait? Molly, call 
sister Hope." 

Max came to the table with Professor Hamilton's 
dear, cheery letter tucked into his pocket, making a 
warm little spot above his heart. Mrs. Ralston was 
smiling over some news she had received and presently 
she told it. 

" Father thinks this lake is safe for a canoe and 



ON WAY TO POST-OFFICE 129 

he is sending one up for you. It was shipped four 
days before he wrote, so should soon be here." 

June shouted and even Hope looked more cheerful. 

" Isn't that great ! Won't we have larks ! Oh, 
Mother, when's he coming himself?" 

" He isn't sure, but he hopes within a fortnight." 

" A canoe ! Won't we have fun ! Max, do you 
paddle?" 

" A little," replied his cousin quietly, but his face 
had lighted with pleasure over this prospect. 

" The way you ' swim a little ' and then turn out 
to be a regular fish ? " inquired June. 

" Paddling is only a knack. I've done it on rivers, 
but never on a lake." 

" I have my suspicions," went on June. " After 
the way you beat me to a finish at tennis and developed 
fins the minute you went into the lake, I don't know 
what will happen when you get hold of a paddle. 
There's one thing though you can't do yet — pitch a 
ball I can't hit!" 

" Neither can I equal your ' chinning ' record," ac- 
knowledged Max, " but I'll do them both before the 
summer is over. It w r ill be no end jolly to have the 
canoe. I think it's awfully kind of Uncle George to 
send it. I do so wish he'd come, for I want to see 
him. Dad has often told me what larks they used to 
have together in college." 



i 3 o WHEN MAX CAME 

Max was anxious to return to his unread letters 
and as soon as supper was over, he seated himself 
on the doorstep. One epistle caused him so much 
amusement that his bursts of laughter made the others 
smile in sympathy. June's curiosity was finally 
aroused. 

" Max, is that a manuscript joke book you have 
there?" 

" No, it's a perfectly killing letter from Connie 
Lisle," replied his cousin, looking up with tears of 
merriment in his eyes. 

" If it is as funny as all that, do read it to us." 

" It is simply rich, and even though you don't know 
her, you can't help thinking it comical. Would you 
care to hear it, Auntie?" 

" Yes, indeed ! Just wait till I see what Molly 
wants and get my sewing." 

Hope settled herself in a shaded corner of the porch. 
No words had been exchanged since she and her 
brother parted at the big walnut. Sunny-tempered 
June disliked to have Hope unhappy and was sorry 
for her, though still thinking her in the wrong. 
It was a pleasant diversion when Mrs. Ralston re- 
turned and his cousin began to read. 



CHAPTER IX 
Connie's letter 

" Portrae, Hebrides, July 14. 
" Dear Max : 

" I expect you'll wonder what on earth I'm doing 
in the Isle of Skye, but here I am! I know when 
we parted in London you thought we were going to 
Ireland and so we did. We sailed from Mil ford 
Haven to Cork and it was altogether nasty. The mater 
went to bed at once and I came near jumping over- 
board, I was that disgusted with life. However, the 
captain invited me into the wheelhouse and I staid till 
I was as sick as could be. That night was something 
beastly ! 

" When we reached Cork we took a cab with the 
boxes on top. Somehow we got mixed with a proces- 
sion and I looked out to find that we were crawling 
along with a brass band in front and a row of little 
donkey carts behind and most of the boys in Cork lined 
up on either side. I'd been feeling quite low, but this 
cheered me. The mater had her eyes shut and I 
thought she'd better keep on resting! 

" Lis-na-lee was a great place and I had the time of 
my life! Only I did miss you! There were a lot of 
jolly young people and we had no end of sport, but I 
wished you'd been there to help things along. We had 
a tub race on the river one day, all in bathing dresses 
and everybody in a tub. I went under about fifteen 
times and was perfectly water-logged when I came out. 

131 



132 WHEN MAX CAME 

The Heronhaye girls ran away from their governess 
and the mater didn't know what we were up to. I wish 
you could have seen the face of that governess when 
she came down to the bank and saw what Christine and 
Pat and the boys and I were doing! She heard 
the noise — I fancy it could be heard in the next 
county! Patricia had lost one bathing sandal and a 
stocking, and she'd somehow come down into the mud 
headfirst and her hair was something awful! Mine 
was full of weeds, but hers was worse, being curly. 
Chris had torn her skirt 'most off and her tub came 
apart and all the pieces were floating round the 
river. 

" We had to come up to the house and take hot baths 
and shampoos and be lectured. It was tea-time before 
we were finished with. I was perfectly worn out, but 
it was worth it. 

u The worst thing we did, though, was one Saturday 
afternoon when we were sent to the village on an 
errand. The church is a pretty, little old one and in a 
sort of tower arrangement is a place where the curate 
keeps his vestments. They were hanging there ready 
for the next day. We couldn't resist the temptation to 
devote a little of our valuable time to those priestly 
garments. 

" Next morning the bell rang for service and of 
course we all had to go. It was eleven and the curate 
never came, and it grew to be five minutes after and he 
didn't come, and fifteen, and still he didn't come. The 
organist was 'most crazy and he played the same thing 
over four times. Pat and I were growing a little 
bored, when finally the choir and the curate arrived. 
He was red in the face and all hot, and no wonder, for 
we stuck a whole paper of pins into his cassock and 
sewed up the sleeves of his surplice. Sir Arthur 



CONNIE'S LETTER 133 

thought the sermon was delivered with unusual feeling 
that morning. Pat and I thought so, too; we knew 
what the feeling was ! " 

" Connie wouldn't have played that trick if I'd 
been there," said Max rather apologetically as he 
looked up from the letter. " Really, that's going too 
far!" 

" Could you have stopped her ? " asked June curi- 
ously. 

" Indeed, I could ! I've helped Connie do a good 
many things she shouldn't, but never anything like 
that. Oh, she would have stopped! This next part 
is more comical." 

" Monday was market day and we went to the vil- 
lage. The peasant women had come in from all 
around with their donkeys and they were tied together 
behind a shed a little away from the market. I mean 
the donkeys, not the women. They were perfect 
ducks, and Pat and I harnessed five of them to a little 
cart and started for a drive. The peasants were 
awfully amused that we wanted to take those donkeys 
and we could have had them all. We wanted to hitch 
them tandem, and if you'd been there to help, I would 
have, but as it was, we thought they'd do better fan- 
shaped. 

" We cut some sticks in the hedge and started in fine 
style. I wanted to drive up to Lis-na-lee but Pat 
didn't dare. She said she didn't mind her mother's 
seeing us, but if we met Sir Arthur there was likely to 
be a row. So we drove on past Lis-na-lee, and after 
a while turned around. We had just passed the park 



i 3 4 WHEN MAX CAME 

entrance on our way back to the village when we met 
the church militant, very militant ! He caught sight of 
us, and if ever I saw a man in a wax, it was that 
curate ! 

"Of course he was on his way to tell of us at Lis-na- 
lee and something had to be done and that mighty 
quickly. So Pat stopped punching the donkeys and I 
hauled them in and asked him just as sweetly as I could 
if he wouldn't take a drive with us. He stared and 
muttered something about our ' beastly cheek/ and then 
suddenly he grinned and said he would. He was quite 
a young curate. So he piled into the back of the cart 
and Pat prodded up the donkeys. We went so fast and 
rattled around so, that he couldn't talk, and we didn't 
want him to! Just at the top of the hill going down 
to the village, the boys, Nevil and Hugh, burst out on 
their ponies and you ought to have seen the way we all 
crashed down into that village, dogs barking, every- 
body yelling, and the ponies and donkeys going for all 
they were worth ! 

" I managed to haul up before the curate's lodgings. 
He'd lost his hat in the race and the boys went back 
for it. He said he'd had a very enjoyable drive and I 
said I hoped we might have the pleasure of his com- 
pany again. He wasn't a bad sort, that curate, for he 
didn't tell of us, and Pat at least, certainly would have 
caught it if Sir Arthur had known. 

" I told Mamma about it afterwards and she moaned 
and exclaimed, ' Patricia Heronhaye and Constance 
Lisle ! ' The idea seemed too much for her." 

" It was lucky for Connie that Colonel Lisle wasn't 
there," commented Max when the amusement over 
the donkey drive had subsided. " Aunt May is easy, 
but Uncle Dick would think that pinning up the curate's 



CONNIE'S LETTER 135 

cassock was one of the ' things a fellow doesn't do ! ' 
That's all about her visit in Ireland." 

" We're up here in Skye, staying in a cottage and 
it's heavenly! Daddy is in Perthshire and he's going 
to stop there all through August. Max, it is simply 
wonderful here, heather and gorse and moors and more 
sky and sunshine and stars than anywhere else in the 
world! I've been such a saint, too! I hardly know 
myself and I must tell you something that will make 
you shriek. Yesterday the mater and I were walking 
through the village and I saw a nice man in a swell 
suit of tweeds. I said to Mamma, ' That's Mr. Thorn- 
ley ! ' She said it couldn't be but I rushed up behind 
him and it was St. George ! " 

" Is that his name? " asked June. 

" No," replied Max. " His name is Christopher, 
but Connie and I named him St. George. We didn't 
like always to call him Mr. Thornley, so we chose that 
for him." 

" It's a tremendously interesting letter," declared 
June. " Do go on." 

" He and his mother were stopping at another cot- 
tage and Mamma went directly to see dear Granny 
Thornley. St. George and I leaned over the gate and 
he at once inquired what sins I'd committed since he 
saw me last. I'd just finished telling him about the 
donkeys and the curate, and he was chuckling inside 
the way he does, when they called us to tea. Now, 
I'm coming to the part that will make you shriek. 

" There wasn't room for us all in the tiny parlor, 
for there was another lady with Mamma and Mrs. 



136 WHEN MAX CAME 

Thornley, so St. George and I stopped on the porch and 
they handed the tea through the window. I was just 
finishing mine when we heard the other lady say to 
Mamma: 'You must take great comfort with Con- 
stance ; she is such a sweet, gentle, docile daughter ! ' 

" Mamma's ' sweet, gentle, docile daughter ' almost 
choked to death and St. George tried so hard not to 
laugh that he pretty nearly exploded. He couldn't 
help giving a funny gasp and Granny inquired, ' Did 
you speak, Christopher ? ' 

" St. George looked straight at me, and said : ' No, 
Mother, I was merely thinking ! ' 

" Wasn't that perfectly terrible ? Of course, it must 
have been trying for poor, dear Mamma, who knows 
what a wild Irishman I am ! You see I really do look 
rather meek, now my frocks are longer, and my hair 
turned in a coil at the back of my head. I've put it up 
since Lis-na-lee. 

" July 1 6. This is a tremendously long letter but you 
simply must stand it, for it's going to be longer. You 
could never guess where I'm writing now, — on the 
very top of the Storr! Last evening St. George came 
and said he wanted to climb the Storr to-day and asked 
if I might go with him. Mamma was perfectly will- 
ing, for you know she thinks St. George is under-study 
to the angel Gabriel, so here I am ! We left about eight 
and it has been perfect for St. George is just as dear 
and nice as always. 

" Here at the top, it's divine. To be sure, on the 
way up, the cork blew out of the apollinaris bottle and 
hit me in the arm and I thought I was shot and let out 
a yell. We have had lunch, such a funny Scotch one, 
oatcakes and cheese and jam. It seemed queer not to 
fight with you about the jam! St. George is smoking, 
having asked my permission very nicely, as if I were 



CONNIE'S LETTER 137 

quite grown up. I told him he'd carried a pipe in the 
corner of his mouth so long that it looked like a tailor's 
button-hole, but he only laughed. 

" You can't imagine anything more lovely than this 
blue sea and blue sky with fat clouds sailing around in 
it, and the sunlight and shadow on the water and the 
misty, dark hills. The gorse and heather make the air 
so sweet. In places on the moors are cairns where 
people are buried. Wouldn't it be interesting if sud- 
denly they should all come out? St. George has just 
told me a lovely little poem that begins : 

" ' Blow softly down the valley, 
Oh, wind, and stir the fern 
That waves its green fronds over 
The King of Ireland's cairn. 

"'Here in his last wild foray 
He fell, and here he lies — 
His armor makes no rattle 
The clay is in his eyes.' 

" We have been talking about every subject you can 
imagine. It is a great comfort to have St. George to 
talk with again, for he always listens so politely and 
as if your opinions were just as important as any one's. 

" The mater and I miss you most awfully. I cried 
half the morning when you left for Liverpool. Hav- 
ing you with us for so many weeks made it terribly 
lonesome without you. I'm not a bit good when I'm 
ill, and Mamma really is lost without you to pet and 
fuss over. Daddy was grumpy, too, and said it was 
ridiculous how he missed that boy! By the way v St. 
George says he really is going over to New York in 
August and shall plan to come back with you. I'm 
going to ask Mamma to let me go with him. 



138 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Oh, Max, when you come, will you bring me a 
paper model for an American frock ? You know what 
pretty frocks those girls we met in Rome had ? I want 
one for evening. Perhaps your cousin Hope will 
choose it for me ; she's only a little younger than I am, 
and will know what I would like. I have a new blue 
Liberty silk in which I feel very swell, but I want 
another, a white one, and I'd like it to be made in an 
American way. I know you are having a fine time 
with your cousins and I'm keen to get your letter tell- 
ing about them. The mater is going to write you her- 
self because she wants to give you some good advice, 
probably about eating too much jam. Do you remem- 
ber that day when we got it on the towels and how 
waxy Ferry was ? 

" Uncle Rod is sending me souvenir postcards from 
every place he stops. He said he would, you know, 
and I'm perfectly wild over them. Six came at once 
yesterday. 

" St. George says he's written you by this mail, but 
I may send his love, the quality he keeps specially for 
the people he likes best. 

" Good-by, dear Max, I am always your loving 

" Connie." 

" She must be more fun than a monkey ! " pro- 
nounced June, who had found the letter very enter- 
taining. " She certainly makes things move." 

" That she does ! " assented Max. " There's never 
any lack of action when Connie's around! The 
things she does, sound rather shocking, Auntie, but 
though you might not think it, Connie really is a 
lady." 



CONNIE'S LETTER 139 

" I can readily believe it, Max ; I see that from the 
letter. In spite of her mischievous pranks, it shows 
that she is sweet and wholesome and girlish. Her 
little revelations of herself are charmingly naive. 
Hope, we must surely see that Connie has her dress 
pattern. " 

Hope had been interested and amused by the letter 
and rather pleased at the reference to herself. 

" Yes, we'll choose a pretty one," she replied, and 
June looked up quickly. Hope had spoken in quite 
her usual way. Perhaps the tempest under the 
walnut would be followed by pleasant weather. 

" I had such a dandy mail ! " Max went on. " Be- 
sides this, there was a letter from Dad and a jolly one 
from St. George — he's really coming across ; and then 
a note from Aunt May and one from Uncle Dick in 
Scotland, besides two from boys at school." 

"Did Mrs. Lisle caution you about eating jam?" 
asked June. 

" No," laughed his cousin. " She's afraid I'll do 
too much and wants me to lie down every afternoon 
and rest. If she could see how tanned I am and what 
an appetite I have, and know I've gained seven pounds 
in three weeks, she wouldn't worry. I wish you could 
know Mrs. Lisle, Aunt Helen! You'd like her so 
much!" 

" Max is so excited over his letters that he won't 
sleep to-night," said June. u Mother, perhaps you'd 



i 4 o WH.EN MAX CAME 

better let him have the kittens just this once to com- 
pose his mind." 

" I don't wonder Max is excited," replied Mrs. Ral- 
ston. "Are you pleased that Mr. Thornley is com- 
ing?" 

" Indeed, I am ! I hope there will be a chance for 
you to see him." 

" I thought Connie's letter showed him as being 
a very interesting person. I should like to meet him." 

"We are tremendously fond of St. George," said 
Max eagerly. " He is immensely popular with all 
the boys at school, but Connie and I have known 
him so intimately that we feel we have a special 
claim on him. Often he gets up early on Sunday 
mornings for a walk, and we almost always go with 
him. Sometimes we climb Janiculum or go to the 
Pincian Hill or the Borghese Gardens, but we usually 
bring up at a little shop where they sell English buns, 
and always St. George stops at the Spanish steps to 
buy flowers for his mother. I never knew him to go 
home on Sunday morning without flowers for 
Granny." 

" I am wildly anxious to see what kind of school- 
master this paragon may be ! " began June. He had 
not as yet succeeded in really teasing his cousin and 
was delighted when Max turned upon him emphatic- 
ally. 

"If you ever meet him and inside of twelve hours 



CONNIE'S LETTER 141 

don't think he's about right I sha'n't have any further 
use for you." 

" Ah, got a rise that time ! " chuckled June. " I'm 
entirely open to conviction, but come, own up! Isn't 
he the kind who calls a fellow into his office and 
labors with him earnestly, perseveringly, and at length, 
about his moral influence in the school and the duty 
of setting a good example to the younger boys ? " 

" Not exactly ! " retorted Max in amusement so 
genuine that his cousin was silenced. " The fellow 
would spend about two minutes in the study and what 
he heard would be something like this : ' See here, 
this won't answer! If you disregard that rule, all 
the kids will think they may. Look at me now, and 
tell me if you're going to do it again ! ' " 



CHAPTER X 

THE NEXT DAY 

HOPE woke the next morning with a feeling 
of general discomfort. Her face was hot 
and flushed and as she raised her hand to 
her head, the fingers seemed stiff and unmanageable. 
Something, too, was wrong with her eyes, for she 
could scarcely open them. 

Springing from bed, she glanced into the little mir- 
ror over her improvised dressing-table. It gave at 
best, a cloudy and crooked reflection, but that alone 
was never responsible for the image which looked 
back at Hope. She stared in horror at the puffed, 
swollen face with two slits for eyes, and brows stand- 
ing out like angry bristles. 

Mrs. Ralston sat up as her daughter rushed into the 
room, her face expressing a dismay only surpassed 
by Hope's own consternation. 

"Mother, what is the matter with me?" wailed 
Hope, holding her swollen hands straight before her. 
They were nearly twice their natural size and so un- 
comfortable they fairly ached. " Is it leprosy? " 

" No, of course not ! Have you been near any 

142 



THE NEXT DAY 143 

poison ivy? It looks like something of that kind, but 
come here and let me see." 

Hope knew poison ivy and was certain she had not 
touched any. 

" Or swamp sumach ; that's poisonous, too. But 
you were in almost all day yesterday; did you touch 
any unfamiliar shrubs or vines when you went to the 
postoffice ? " 

Hope suddenly remembered the little bush under 
the walnut tree and the leaves she had so ruthlessly 
stripped. 

" I'm afraid it was poison-sumach ! " sighed Mrs. 
Ralston. " I will bring you some saleratus water to 
bathe your face. That will do no harm and may be 
soothing. You'd better go back to your bed, or would 
you rather stay in mine? I'm very sorry, darling, but 
though it's uncomfortable, it isn't dangerous, and 
won't last forever." 

" I don't want the boys to see me," sobbed poor 
Hope as she crept into her mother's bed. 

" I know they won't laugh, and if it lasts several 
days they will help the time pass for you." 

" I can't have them see me," choked Hope, burying 
her face in the pillow." 

" Then they shall not. Don't cry, dearie ; it only 
makes the matter worse. I will send June for Mrs. 
Tyler; she will know what to do, and whether that 
shrub was the poisonous sumach. We will telephone 



144 WHEN MAX CAME 

for the nearest doctor if necessary, so just be patient 
for a little." 

To practise patience was difficult when Hope felt 
so dreadfully miserable and sick, and it seemed quite 
unbearable when Molly tiptoed in, gave a single glance 
at the swollen, discolored face, and fled in dismay. 
She could not believe that dreadful-looking creature 
to be her own dear sister ! 

Sounds came to Hope's ears from other parts of 
the house. June and Max arose from their cots under 
the big apple tree where they usually spent the night, 
and went down to the lake for their morning dip. 
Apparently, they had a race on the way back, for they 
came in laughing and rushed into their room. Their 
merriment annoyed Hope and it even seemed unneces- 
sary that the morning itself should be so bright and 
beautiful. 

Presently her mother returned, compassionate and 
reassuring. 

"June has gone to ask Mrs. Tyler to come over. 
Max offers you his deep sympathy and both he and 
June have promised solemnly not to laugh if you feel 
like dressing and coming out." 

" I don't want to see any one, Mamma." 

" Not even Charlotte and Nan ? They will be so 
sorry and will surely want to do something to comfort 
you." 

" N — no," said Hope doubtfully, " not even them. 



THE NEXT DAY 145 

Perhaps I will to-morrow, but oh, Mamma, I do feel 
so horridly! " 

" I know it, dearie ; it's a shame ! Now, I'm going 
to comb and braid your hair so you will look neat 
for Mrs. Tyler." 

Hope submitted, glad to be a little girl again and 
feel Mother's gentle hands arranging her hair. 

"Who is getting breakfast?" she inquired sud- 
denly. 

" Max," replied her mother with a laugh. " He 
assured me that he could ' do topping toast and turn 
out a very high-class poached eggl ' " 

" He will make a dreadful mess ! " grumbled Hope. 

" It isn't much matter if he does, and he wanted 
to help. Molly is so fascinated by the sight of Max 
in a kitchen apron that she is figuratively tied to its 
string." 

Hope's toilet was completed and the room set in 
order by the time June returned. 

" Mrs. Tyler will be right over, Mother," he an- 
nounced outside the door. " Polly Anne, mayn't I 
come in? I won't crack a single smile at your ex- 
pense, not one, on my honor! " 

Hope still refused and she would not even reply 
when Max ventured a remark. 

" Hope, do let me exhibit myself. You've no idea 
how a cook's apron becomes my peculiar style of 
beauty." 



146 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Poison-sumach and no mistake ! " said Mrs. Tyler 
with her first view of t|ie unfortunate victim. " Was 
it under the big walnut? There was some there 
last fall; I knew it when the leaves turned and 
I meant to have Father root it out, but I forgot it 
from that day to this. You want a solution of sugar 
of lead. Alcohol is good, too ; it will do no harm to 
use both. Just plain soap and water isn't to be de- 
spised either." 

" I have alcohol," said Mrs. Ralston, " but I sup- 
pose sugar of lead is to be obtained only in town." 

" Father's going to town after some farm tools to- 
day and he'll get it for you. I'll write it down so 
he won't make any mistake. You can use the alcohol 
till he gets back. Have you plenty of that ? I'll send 
the lead up as soon as it comes; one of the Walker 
girls will be glad to bring it. I'll tell them about 
Hope's misfortune and they'll be over to chirk her up. 
It's pleasant for the girls to have Hope so near and 
they take real comfort in it. They are such nice girls, 
too; Charlotte is just as sweet and capable! Nan, 
though she's a bit unexpected, is a real companionable, 
loving little creature. I never saw such an energetic 
piece as she is; she's on the go from morning till 
night. You never see her sitting down and resting 
like other folks ; she lights for a moment and then she's 
up and away. They're nice girls, and Father takes 
considerable stock in both of them. No, thank you, 



THE NEXT DAY 147 

Mrs. Ralston; I had my breakfast a couple of hours 
ago, but I must be getting home or there won't be any 
dinner for my boarders." 

When Hope's breakfast came, she eyed it suspi- 
ciously, thinking to find eccentric traces of Max's 
cookery. There were none; the tray was very at- 
tractive with its cup of chocolate, crisp toast, and 
poached egg, while laid on her napkin were two beauti- 
ful water-lilies with golden hearts wide-open and 
pinky-white petals still jeweled with shining drops. 

" Max is a model cook ; he didn't make the least 
' mess/ " said Mrs. Ralston cheerily. " The toast is 
beautifully browned and the eggs done just right. 
But he considers the lilies his chief triumph ; he brought 
them from his morning swim." 

" They are lovely," acknowledged Hope a little un- 
willingly. She felt ill as well as uncomfortable and 
was glad to lie down. It seemed strange to stay in 
bed and hear the familiar household processes going 
on without her. Max and June were doing the dishes 
and making good sport of the task. She heard June 
return a plate, apparently not properly washed, with 
a frank comment on his cousin's carelessness, and Max 
replied, " ' It's a pretty poor dish-wiper who can't get 
off what the washer leaves ! ' " 

Hope did not hear June's response, for steps passed 
her window, and then came Charlotte's voice. 

" Won't she see us ? We'd love to read to her or 



148 WHEN MAX CAME 

wait on her or do the least thing for her. You think 
she'd really rather not? " 

The closed blinds of the window opened just a 
crack and a beautiful pink rose came flying in. 

" I'm awfully sorry, Hope dear," said Nan. " I 
wish you would let me do something for you." 

" Oh, Nan, I look so dreadfully and I feel worse! " 

" When I love people I don't care how they look ! 
I love you, Hope ; won't you let me come and be com- 
forting to you ? " 

Hope could not resist that appeal, and Anstice, 
having made the surrender known to Mrs. Ralston, 
came in like a sunbeam. 

" I'm too awful to kiss," remonstrated Hope. 
" Besides, you might get it on you." 

" I suppose that is so," said Anstice, sitting down 
on the floor. " There's a place here above your el- 
bow ; it can't do any harm to kiss that. I'm so sorry, 
Hope darling. I've brought the new St. Nicholas to 
read to you. Charlotte's shelling peas with your 
mother and the boys and we'll just have a happy time 
together." 

In spite of Anstice's loving sympathy and her 
mother's care, the day was a long one for Hope, since 
her discomfort was considerable. During the after- 
noon she fell into a half-sleep, in which it was hard 
to distinguish between dreaming and waking. Had 
she imagined that some one tiptoed into the room? 



THE NEXT DAY 149 

There on a chair beside her bed was a grape leaf full 
of luscious red raspberries. 

" Charlotte brought them, dear," said her mother. 
" They are the last of the season." 

Hope lay quietly, watching the needle flashing in 
and out of Mrs. Ralston's work. It was growing 
into a dainty smocked frock for Molly. At a distance 
she could hear bursts of laughter and presently An- 
stice's happy voice. " Play ball ! " it sang, and Hope 
instantly pictured the game that was going on. Were 
they tossing the ball back and forth or did they have 
a bat? 

" Play up, play up! " came June's deeper tones. 

Hope turned with a sigh. It must be nice out there 
in the sunny meadow where the grass was all harvested 
and only the short stubble left. She knew just how 
Charlotte's pigtail was flying behind her as she ran 
and how Anstice was dancing up and down with ex- 
citement. ■ 

" Why, Mother, what's happened ? " she asked, a 
little startled, for the ball players, apparently as one 
person, stampeded past the house. Mrs. Ralston rose 
to look from the window. 

" It is the canoe ! Mr. Tyler has brought it over for 
us." 

At this exciting news, Hope found her imprison- 
ment almost unendurable. Not to be present at the 
uncrating and launching of that craft was indeed hard. 



ISO WHEN MAX CAME 

Rather than miss it, she was almost ready to show 
herself in public. 

" It really is all Max's fault," she thought bitterly 
as her mother went to speak with Mr. Tyler. " If 
it hadn't been for Max, I shouldn't have quarreled 
with June, nor stopped by the wall, nor touched that 
hateful old bush, and I wouldn't have been poisoned! " 

Hope might have continued still further her dis- 
astrous " House that Jack built," but curiosity mas- 
tered resentment and she crept to the window. They 
were all grouped around the crated canoe which had 
been taken from the cart and lay on the grass by the 
road. It was wrapped in sacking besides being crated, 
but the rough bagging could not conceal the graceful 
curves beneath. 

June came running with hammer and chisel and he 
and Max worked eagerly. Even Mr. Tyler seemed 
interested to get the canoe unwrapped and Charlotte 
had borrowed a knife and was ripping away at the 
stitches in the covering. So many hands made the 
process a quick one, and in five minutes the canoe lay 
before them, a thing of beauty in its graceful pro- 
portions — shining with green paint and spar varnish. 
Fastened inside were the paddles and two backboards 
for the accommodation of passengers. 

Hope put on her wrapper to go into the living-room 
and watch from its windows the royal progress of the 
canoe to the lake. Max and June were carrying it 



THE NEXT DAY 151 

without the slightest effort, escorted by Charlotte with 
the paddles and Anstice with the backboards. Molly 
gamboled around the procession, and Mrs. Ralston 
and Mr. Tyler brought up the rear. Apparently no 
one even thought of Hope's disappointment. 

Mrs. Ralston would not permit both girls to go on 
the trial trip, but in a moment Hope saw the canoe 
skimming rapidly along the edge of the lake, Max 
steering, June with the bow paddle, and Anstice sitting 
flat in the bottom. It skirted the shore for some dis- 
tance, then came back and exchanged Anstice for 
Charlotte. 

At the same moment, Mrs. Ralston turned toward 
the cottage, Molly hanging back and very openly re- 
bellious because she was not allowed to go with the 
" big children." Hope stole miserably to her bed, and 
did not feel like responding pleasantly when her mother 
came. 

" Here is the sugar of lead, and I think by to-mor- 
row the worst of the swelling may be over. They 
were all so sorry you couldn't be out to try the canoe. 
June offered to wait, and so did Max, but I knew you 
wouldn't want them to do that." 

Hope was not so sure; her disappointment and im- 
patience were keen, and she made no response. 

" It is a beauty, sixteen feet long, and very light 
and easily handled. You will have great pleasure 
with it, and it seems safe on this especial lake. I 



152 WHEN MAX CAME 

didn't dare let Molly go, and she was quite naughty. 
It isn't good for her to have no playmates of her 
own age; she gets too much petting and has no one 
to whom she must give up. She makes perfect slaves 
of Charlotte and Max." 

Hope bathed her poor distorted face in silence. Her 
brother's easy postponement of that cherished sum- 
mer plan had prejudiced her against her cousin before 
he ever came. The ready liking June instantly 
evinced for him, her mother's affection, Molly's open 
devotion, — all contributed to make Hope stand aloof, 
nor could she rid herself of the suspicion that Max 
was secretly contemptuous of their simple way of life. 
Charlotte and Nan, much as she liked them, could not 
make up to Hope for the undeniable fact that her 
companionship was less essential to June since Max's 
arrival. 

" It seems to me your face isn't so swollen ; 
doesn't it feel any better? " asked her mother tenderly. 
" You've been so patient all day. Perhaps to-morrow 
you will feel like coming out. We are planning to 
make some cushions for the canoe, just covers to be 
filled with hay. The girls are to help, and you shall 
lie in the hammock in the living-room and the boys 
will take turns reading aloud while we sew." 

" I know they'll laugh at me." 

" Indeed, they won't, dearie ; they both promised me 
they would not. You have not seemed like yourself 



THE NEXT DAY 153 

for the past few days and I think perhaps our house- 
keeping has worn on you more than I realized. When 
you are well again, we are all going to Mrs. Tyler's 
for dinner, and get just our breakfast and supper here. 
That will be no more work than is good for us." 

This proof of her mother's watchful care was al- 
most too much for Hope. Had Molly not come in 
crying at that moment, she might have confessed why 
she had been unlike herself. Certainly the housework 
was not the cause. 

By the time Molly's broken heart was mended by 
comfort and kisses duly administered, Hope had re- 
covered her self-possession and was moved to en- 
thusiasm over a confidence from her mother. 

" And now, darling, I'll tell you a secret. Father 
is surely coming next week. He doesn't know the 
day, but he will be here without fail." 



CHAPTER XI 

CONCERNING MR. LEMON AND MRS. LEMOINE 

CHARLOTTE and Max sat on the slope of a 
sunny hill overlooking the lake. The morning 
was cool and sunshine was preferable to 
shadow. Charlotte had even buttoned her sweater — 
her " woolly," as she preferred to call it since Max had 
told her its English name. 

They had started for blueberries, but there were not 
many in Charlotte's pail and Max had spilled the few 
he had gathered. It was difficult to concentrate one's 
attention on berry-picking when the world was so 
beautiful, all blue, white, and green. Down on the 
lake were three black dots — probably loons. 

" I keep thinking about that man Mr. Smith told 
us of, — 'the one who hasn't spoken to a woman for 
thirty years," remarked Charlotte after a long pause. 
" It seems so dreadful ! " 

" Doesn't it? " replied her companion, shying a chip 
at a squirrel that was eyeing them inquisitively around 
the trunk of a tree. " When Mr. Smith told us that 
story, the man's name struck me as familiar, but at 
the time I couldn't remember where I'd heard it, nor 

154 



LEMON AND LEMOINE 155 

what association I had with it. The other day it 
popped right into my mind." 

" What do you mean? " inquired Charlotte wonder- 
ingly. 

"Shut up, will you?'' remarked Max to the in- 
sulted squirrel that was now scolding him vigorously, 
sputtering away in the tree top like an angry little fire- 
cracker. M You see," he went on to Charlotte, " that 
day when we were under the shed, the man himself 
came and looked at us from an attic window. I 
didn't tell you, because then I didn't know you very 
well and I was afraid you would be frightened. I was 
rather amazed myself," he admitted frankly, " because 
he was such a queer-looking old spook. When Mr. 
Smith told us his story and said his name was Lemon, I 
knew it must really be Lemoine, only they don't know 
how to pronounce it. The other day I remembered 
where I'd heard it, and really, Charlotte, it seems as if 
it might be his wife that I know about." 

" Oh, you don't mean it ! " exclaimed Charlotte, her 
eyes shining with excitement. " Max, I never heard 
anything so interesting! Do tell me about it. 
Wouldn't it be great if we could really find her and 
perhaps get her to come back and civilize him again? " 

"Wouldn't it be something great and awful?" 
agreed Max. " You see, I've thought quite a little 
about it, and the other day when I drove to the vil- 
lage with Mr. Tyler, I asked him what he knew about 



156 WHEN MAX CAME 

Mr. Lemon or Lemoine. He told me just what Mr. 
Smith did, only he said that the priest in Camden 
wrote to Kitty and tried very hard to make her come 
back and live with her husband, and that later, some 
man in Montreal, who is a great philanthropist and 
does ever so much good for people, tried to have them 
reconciled. Mr. Tyler said that Kitty was young 
and gay, and it was hard for her to live in so isolated 
a place among people who were so serious and quiet 
and different from those she'd been used to. He 
thought she stood it just as long as she possibly could, 
and that she and Mr. Lemon quarrelled over some 
mere trifle ; perhaps a poorly cooked meal or something 
as trivial as that. At any rate, she went away. 
Neither the priest nor the Montreal man succeeded in 
making things right and it was rumored that she 
went to France, though Mr. Tyler said he also heard 
that both she and the baby died. 

" Now, I'm coming to what I remembered the other 
night. When I went to the Lisles' this spring, I had 
a relapse and had to have a nurse again, and one came 
who belonged to a Catholic sisterhood. She was called 
Sister Angelique, but the interesting part of it was that 
she was one of the nuns who had been expelled from 
France and had taken refuge in Jersey. 

" When she left France, her mother came with her 
to St. Helier's, and she had a little place where she 
raised vegetables and flowers. She brought them to 



LEMON AND LEMOINE 157 

the Lisles' house, and this woman's name was 
Catherine Lemoine ! " 

Max stopped to enjoy the excitement that was blaz- 
ing in Charlotte's eyes. 

" It's hard to know how old any of those Catholic 
sisters are, for they all look alike in their nun's dress, 
but Sister Angelique must have been over thirty, and 
she once told me that her mother had lived in the 
States and that she herself was born here! " 

Max had saved this statement for a climax and was 
pleased with the effect it produced on Charlotte. 

" It seems impossible that it can be wrong! " she ex- 
claimed when the first excitement was over. " Cath- 
erine Lemoine must have been Kitty Lemon, and if 
she has a daughter about the age that baby would be 
now, and born in America, too — why, Max, that 
settles it ! What are you going to do ; tell Mr. Lemon 
and let him write to them ? " 

" I've thought quite carefully about that, and I'm 
afraid he wouldn't. You see he's lived alone and in that 
queer way so long — he must necessarily have grown 
rather daffy. Now, Mrs. Lemoine and Sister Angelique 
have been living among people and it seems to me they 
would be more likely to do something. Mr. Tyler 
said he didn't believe that if Kitty was living, she 
knew Mr. Lemon was still here, since before she left 
he had been talking of selling out and going back to 
Canada. Very probably they have had no idea where 



158 WHEN MAX CAME 

he has been all these years and would be glad to be 
told." 

" Then you'll write to them? " 

" That was what I planned. I can write to Mrs. 
Lemoine in care of Sister Angelique at the convent in 
St. Helier's. I don't believe Sister Angelique has for- 
gotten me ; it's not likely, since only a few months ago 
she was washing my face and spooning soup down my 
throat. She was a good sort," said Max, reaching for 
a particularly fat berry and settling into a more com- 
fortable position among the sweet fern and blueberry 
bushes. 

" Oh, do write at once ! Doesn't it take a long time 
to get an answer to a letter that goes so far? It 
would be dreadful if you didn't have a reply before 
we went away from here." 

" I have the letter written. I brought it to show 
you, and I was going to talk about Mr. Lemon. It was 
odd that you spoke first. I think there will be time for 
an answer, for Auntie says they shall stay here until 
about the middle of September, and I don't have to be 
in Rome till the third week of October. Still, if St. 
George comes, I shall go back with him, and he may 
have to sail earlier. But there should be time, and 
this is the letter. I've written it in French, but I'll 
translate for you, or will you read it ? " 

" No, thank you," protested Charlotte. " That's too 
much like a school exercise! Read it to me." 



LEMON AND LEMOINE 159 

Max recalled himself to Mrs. Lemoine's mind as the 
American boy, the guest of the Lisles, whom Sister 
Angelique had nursed through an illness that spring. 
He outlined Mr. Lemon's story, and in words that 
were rather tactfully chosen for a lad of sixteen, sug- 
gested that if this Mr. Lemon was in truth her hus- 
band, she might be glad to know his whereabouts and 
rejoice at the opportunity to rejoin him. 

" It's a nice letter and I think you've expressed 
it beautifully," commented Charlotte. "But — oh, 
Max," she hesitated, " it does seem a big thing to un- 
dertake!" 

" I know it, but if it is really so, it is something that 
ought to be done," replied her companion with his 
eyes fixed on the distant top of Bald face. " Just 
think how glad they will all be ! " 

" It would be lovely to have her come back and 
make him be civilized and take down that dreadful 
gravestone from the door. I shall be terribly proud 
of you if you really succeed in getting it done." 

" I don't see why it shouldn't come out all right. It 
seems as if it must be true. But let's not tell any one 
else ; let's keep it our secret. When the letter comes — 
that will be time enough to tell other people." 

Charlotte willingly agreed. " Are you going to say 
anything to Mr. Lemon? " she added. 

" That depends. The day we were on the moun- 
tain, I lost a pin that was fastened to my woolly. I 



160 WHEN MAX CAME 

suppose I lost it in the woods in one of those scratchy 
places, but it will be an excuse to go back and ask Mr. 
Lemon if he found it under his woodshed. I shall 
tell him that it came from France and that will give 
him a chance to ask if I have been there. What I 
say next will depend on him." 

" How cleverly you've planned it ! " said Charlotte 
in admiration. " When you go, Max, I'll go with 
you as far as the top of the hill before we reach the 
bushes that the path winds through, and wait for you 
there, for I must know right straight off just what 
happens. It won't do for me to go any nearer, but 
I'll wait there and he will never suspect. ,, 

" Yes, we can plan that. I think it's rather sport." 

" I've read about such things, but I never supposed 
I should really be in anything of the kind," sighed 
Charlotte. " Max, I can't stay here another second ! 
This sweet fern is positively alive with horrid yellow 
worms ! " 

Charlotte sprang up and crashed through the bushes 
to a spot where no sweet fern grew. Even then she 
regarded her surroundings with suspicion. 

" They won't hurt you," said Max, following lazily. 

" They are almost as bad as cows, and I am mor- 
tally afraid of cows. I shouldn't mind if they didn't 
look at me, but they stare so, that I am sure they 
are intelligent and are getting ready to do things to 
me." 



LEMON AND LEMOINE 161 

" Nan likes them ; she tried to ride a half-grown one 
the other day." 

" Mr. Tyler was quite annoyed about it and Mamma 
said it was very unladylike. She sent Nan to bed that 
night directly after tea." 

" There's the canoe ! " exclaimed Max. " June and 
the girls must have come back from the creamery. 
I'll bet they have more butter than we have berries! 
But who is that with them ? That's surely Auntie and 
Hope in the bottom, and Molly, too, — I see her red 
frock. But who besides June is paddling? It is a 
man ! " 

" Let's call to them," suggested Charlotte, looking 
for her handkerchief to wave. 

Max put his hands to his mouth and shouted 
through them. Bald face, on the other side of the 
lake, sent back a faint echo, but the canoe kept steadily 
on its way. 

" No use ! " said Max after his third unsuccessful at- 
tempt. " The wind must carry the sound in another 
direction." 

" We really ought to pick some berries, for we've 
wasted most of the morning. Let's race and see who 
fills a pail first." 

Max won, for the yellow worms restricted the area 
where Charlotte felt safe to pick. The berries were 
so plentiful that it was not difficult to gather a pailful 
when once they set about it in earnest. 



i62 WHEN MAX CAME 

As they sauntered down the fragrant hillside on 
their homeward way, the canoe reappeared at the base 
of Baldface. 

" Do not forget," said Max mysteriously as they 
reached the Tyler gate, " about Mr. Lemon, I mean. 
And by the way, I am going to call you Carlotta. 
That is the Italian form of your name and I think it 
suits you. Good-by, Carlotta, I'll probably see you 
again in half an hour or so." 

Max went on to the cottage, whistling gayly. He 
heard voices in the kitchen and just at the door met a 
tall gentleman coming out. 

" This must be Max! " said the newcomer. " Max, 
dear fellow, I'm glad indeed to see you at last ! What 
does Rodney's boy look like? " 

Uncle George had laid a hand on the shoulder that 
was on a level with his own, and was looking at him 
with a very critical though kindly glance. 

" Yes, you're Rodney's boy all right enough," he 
said, his rather stern lips breaking into a smile that 
lighted his whole face. " It isn't our fault we've 
never seen you before. If your Aunt Helen and I 
had had our way, you and June would have grown up 
as brothers." 

" And how about my Dad ? " laughed Max, speak- 
ing for the first time since his involuntary exclamation 
of " Uncle George!" 



LEMON AND LEMOINE 163 

" Ah, there was the sticking point. Dad happened 
to want you himself! Well, judging from appear- 
ances, Dad hasn't made a bad job of you ! " 

" I wish he was here ! " said Max, blushing and 
showing his handsome teeth in a smile. " I feel as 
though I knew you, Uncle, after all the things I've 
heard of you." 

" Max, I've always been discreet in the things I've 
let June know of my boyhood. Now, if Rodney has 
rashly told you tales June has never heard, just you 
keep still about them ! " 

" Max and I will have a session at once, and I will 
ascertain how much lime-light he is able to throw on 
my father's school and college life," put in June mis- 
chievously, f 

Mr. Ralston again seized Max by the shoulder. 

" I see I shall have to keep you beside me, young 
man, until I have learned what deeds of my misspent 
past your dad has related to you. But seriously speak- 
ing, Max, it is a great pleasure to me to have you and 
June together." 

" We've got along without much fighting," June 
volunteered. " But that's wholly due to my naturally 
angelic disposition. I always give in to Max! 
Mother'll testify to that; she told me before he came 
that I must be polite to him ! " 

Max grinned. " I didn't realize that these were 



164 WHEN MAX CAME 

still your company manners! After this, June, do 
try to be natural ! This artificial atmosphere gets op- 
pressive." 

" Mamma ! " interrupted Molly, " make Max stop. 
Molly wants to talk ! " 

" There speaks our youngest ! " said Mr. Ralston. 
" Come here, Molly Cottontail, and you shall have a 
chance to talk." 



CHAPTER XII 

A MORNING SWIM 

JUNE and Max were out early on the morning 
after Mr. Ralston's arrival. The sun had 
scarcely risen when they reached the lake and 
launched the canoe. 

" Wait, will you ? " called a voice. " I want to go 
along." 

Max laughed as he saw the figure hurrying down 
the path. To say the least, Uncle George looked un- 
conventional, attired in bathing-suit, canvas shoes, and 
a sweater. 

" June, I didn't think you'd treat your old father like 
this! I heard you go, and hustled down here so fast 
you couldn't see me for the dust. But, of course, if 
I'm not wanted — " 

" I'm so in the habit of not wanting you ! " June re- 
plied in the same tone. " We spoke about waking you 
but thought perhaps you'd rather sleep the first morn- 
ing. Fire out some cushions, Max. We dispense 
with such luxuries, but I reckon you'll want them. 
Go ahead, Father, and don't step on the gunwale." 

" I've a mind to run a race round it," remarked Mr. 

165 



1 66 WHEN MAX CAME 

Ralston. u I paddled a canoe before you were in ex- 
istence, young man ! " 

" You may paddle this one, if you like," offered 
June, holding the boat for his father to step in. 

" You boys have so little on that you'd better do 
the work and keep warm. You might hand that 
steamer rug, Max, while you are about it. And do 
you mean to say you haven't stolen anything from the 
pantry? If I have a son and a nephew blessed with 
so little sense, it's high time I took them in hand ! " 

" Don't get excited, Father," June observed, as he 
pushed off from the pier. " Give us time to show 
what we can do in that line. Just keep calm." 

"I like that!" Mr. Ralston retorted. "You dis- 
respectful youth! I'm sure Max doesn't talk to his 
father in this style. Do you, now ? " 

An answering chuckle came from the bow where 
Max had been smiling over the dialogue. It sounded 
so strikingly like some of his conversations with Dad. 

" Do I not ? " he asked mischievously. 

" I thought Rodney had probably brought his son 
up better than I have mine," sighed Mr. Ralston. " I 
don't know what this present generation is coming to, 
nor do I see any hope whatever for the next. When 
I was a boy, I never made such impertinent remarks 
to my honored parent." 

" I'll bet my grandfather never ' sassed ' you the way 
you do me ! " retorted June. 



A MORNING SWIM 167 

" And I'll bet you and he weren't half such chums 
as you and June ! " Max interrupted. 

" There is that side of the question to be con- 
sidered," said Mr. Ralston with a gravity that was not 
wholly mocking. " My son's attitude towards me ap- 
pears painfully flippant on the surface, but the com- 
panionship goes pretty deep, eh, June ? " 

There came a light touch on Mr. Ralston's wind- 
blown hair as June's brown fingers swept it between 
two strokes of the paddle, but Max heard only a most 
matter-of-fact "Right you are! Let's hit her up!" 

The bow paddle did " hit her up " with the result 
that the canoe began to cut through the water at racing 
speed. 

" I see from this hole in the thwart that you've 
tried sailing," commented Mr. Ralston. " How did 
she go?" 

" Like a breeze ! The first time we got into no end 
of scrapes. We came down this end of the lake so 
Mother wouldn't be disturbed by our experiments. 
I'd be afraid to tell you how many times we were in 
the lake before things went smoothly." 

" I knew you could swim and I supposed that Max 
could, or I should never have sent this canoe," ob- 
served his father. 

"I should say Max could swim!" said June. 
" He's a regular fish. After we got her rigged, every- 
thing went all right and we were having a dandy time 



1 68 WHEN MAX CAME 

just zipping across this stretch when suddenly we ran 
hard into a log floating below the surface. The shock 
knocked us both overboard, and the canoe filled, and 
the sail got waterlogged. We couldn't right her in 
such deep water and it was a stiff job getting her in- 
shore. We put in a good morning's work. See this 
island, Father! This is the largest one. Max and I 
have spent several nights on it." 

" June," interrupted Max eagerly, " wouldn't Uncle 
George be keen on our Baldface plan? " 

" I'll interpret," said June wickedly. " I'm fairly 
clever now at understanding Max. Time was when 
I had to take Webster's Unabridged with me where- 
ever I went — Max, if I couldn't throw water 
straighter than that, I wouldn't try ! — Why, we want 
to camp on the mountain and see the sunrise, but 
Mother objected. It's queer, for she hasn't minded 
our staying on the island." 

" I think Auntie has an idea that wild animals are 
on the mountain," put in Max. " But she won't ob- 
ject if you come, too, Uncle. We'll take blankets and 
it will be no end jolly." 

" Sure, I'll come ! " said Mr. Ralston promptly. 

" Ah, what price Uncle George ? " exclaimed Max, 
waving his paddle around his head. 

" Just listen to the language he uses ! " commented 
June. " That's not one of his most exclusive phrases 
either! You can see the lower end of the lake from 



A MORNING SWIM 169 

here. There is a wriggly, squirming passage through 
a swamp to another smaller pond/' 

"June's adjectives also apply to the mosquitoes!" 
Max volunteered. He had stopped paddling and sat 
with arms braced behind him on either gunwale. li It's 
a very decent passage, only stopped with pads." 

" Choked with pond lilies," explained June with 
mock patience. " But right here is the deepest part 
of the lake. And where the hills come together there 
seems to be a set-back or cross-current. Sometimes 
for several seconds the boat doesn't move at all, and 
then suddenly it goes on again. The other night Nan 
and Hope were with me when it happened and they 
were quite excited. It's just as though a big hand 
came up from the bottom and clutched us for an in- 
stant. Nan insists that it is a water-kelpie or 
kraken." 

" I shouldn't suppose there could be much current 
in so small a lake," remarked his father. " But that's 
probably it. Tired, son? " he added, noticing that his 
nephew's paddle was still idle. 

Max turned with a smile, appreciating the affection- 
ate address. " No, but unless we are going for lilies 
we usually take our swim off this point. I'll go in 
here, June." 

Max kicked off his canvas shoes, and stood for an 
instant on the seat of the canoe, with arms raised 
above his head. Then, only slightly disturbing the 



170 WHEN MAX CAME 

balance of the canoe, he dropped in a graceful curve 
headfirst into the lake. 

" Wasn't that clean-cut ? " asked June enthusias- 
tically. "Max can do all sorts of stunts. He's 
teaching me, but I can't dive like that. You go ahead, 
now." 

Being so much heavier than Max, Mr. Ralston's 
plunge rocked the canoe. June, with difficulty, saved 
himself from being capsized, and paddled in shore, 
where Max scrambled in to take him out for his 
turn. 

Before long, Mr. Ralston tired of the sport and 
betook himself to the sun- warmed beach where he 
sat enjoying the fun the boys were having. Both 
were utterly fearless and thoroughly at home in the 
water. Max was a particularly expert swimmer and 
his lithe arms flashed out of water in the overhead 
stroke with the regularity of machinery. 

" Who beats in a straightaway race ? " asked Mr. 
Ralston as the two finally came ashore, dripping from 
head to foot, and tingling in every muscle with vi- 
tality. 

" That depends," replied Max, gathering a store of 
apples from the stern of the canoe. " I can win a 
short race, but June has more staying power in a long 
one. I tire before he does." 

" It's just a question of endurance," added June, 
luxuriating at full length in the warm sand. "If 



A MORNING SWIM 171 

Max hadn't been ill he'd probably beat me in that. 
He can do more now than when he first came." 

" I hope he'll have more flesh on his bones before 
the end of the summer," observed Mr. Ralston, ac- 
cepting the proffered apples and glancing from one 
boy to the other. As far as scanty bathing-suits re- 
vealed, both were tanned to an Indian brown. 

" Of course I look skinny when I have so little on/' 
said Max, " but I never was very stout, Uncle." 

"If apples could make him fat, he'd weigh two 
hundred by this time," commented June with a sud- 
den laugh. " I'll bet he's eaten a barrel of 'em since he 
came. He's a perfect apple fiend ! " 

" Don't you have them in Italy ? " inquired Mr. Ral- 
ston. 

" Very seldom, and never like these. We have 
stacks of oranges and medlars and grapes. I thought 
English apples were good, but these are better." 

" He eats them all day long and part of the night ! " 
June declared calmly. " The other afternoon we went 
over to the village. The mail wasn't in, so we had to 
wait. Max, as usual, had collected apples on the way, 
and his pockets were full of them. He laid them out 
in a row on the postofnce steps and began to eat. 
There were sixteen in all and an old farmer bet him 
a dollar he couldn't eat them at a sitting. Max said 
he could. Well, he ate and ate, and a whole crowd 
gathered to see him do it. The old codger who made 



172 WHEN MAX CAME 

the bet began to look uneasy and finally grew pale. 
It got down to the fourteenth apple. Max ate that 
and then he ate the fifteenth. Everybody was roar- 
ing, but he stopped there and put the last one in his 
pocket and told the old chap he'd better not make such 
a rash wager again! On the way home, he finished 
the job." 

" Couldn't you have eaten it at the time? " laughed 
Mr. Ralston. 

" Yes, easily," Max replied, with a bright smile. 
" But I didn't want the old man's money. He didn't 
look as though he had many dollars to throw away, 
and I'd had my fun. Wouldn't this lake be a dandy 
place for skating ! " he added with a sudden change of 
subject. 

" What do you know about skating ? — you child 
of a southern sun ! " demanded his uncle. 

" Oh, we go to Switzerland for the holidays ! " said 
Max eagerly. " I've been at Miirren for five weeks 
in December and January. Everybody skates and 
skiis and slides on sleds called ' luges.' It's great f 
Miirren is in the high Alps, you know, and one can 
look up and see the Jungfrau like a white throne in 
the sky, and the Monch and Eiger and half a dozen 
others. After breakfast it's a steady frolic until late 
at night. There are always some crackerjack skaters 
at Miirren. Of course, it's cold, but people dress for 
it, often in white from head to foot. Dad is keenest 



A MORNING SWIM 173 

on skiing, but he skates, too, and we have such sport. 
I do hope he'll get back so we can go this year! " 

" Does Rodney take you wherever he goes ? " asked 
Mr. Ralston, finishing his second apple. 

"If he did, I wouldn't be here!" said Max rather 
wistfully. " It's the first summer, though, that I 
haven't been with him, and he always takes me when 
he goes to Switzerland for the sports. But when I 
was a kiddie, he was often away in the winter in 
places where he couldn't have me. I've stopped for 
weeks at a time with the Lisles or the Thornleys. I 
fancy that's why June finds me so English," he ended, 
laughing. " I've been so much with English people." 

" You're improving," said June patronizingly. 

" I'm not sure it is any improvement," Max retorted 
calmly, with a side glance at his cousin. 

Mr. Ralston chuckled. " Max," he observed, 
" English or American, you're the right stuff ! I ex- 
pected to like you for your dad's sake, but I like you 
for your own! Now, isn't it time we went home? 
I've been ' comforted with apples ' but I want my cof- 
fee." 

" I'd like nothing better than to spend the morning 
here," replied June, stretching himself lazily. Max 
had colored at his uncle's words. He was greatly at- 
tracted by Uncle George, whose merry eyes belied a 
stern mouth. Max understood and admired that type 
pf man, and from June's attitude toward his father, 



174 WHEN MAX CAME 

it was evident that Mr. Ralston's friendship was worth 
having 1 . 

" June, get a move or ? " commanded Mr. Ralston 
briefly as he started toward the water's edge. " It 
looks like a rather long tramp round this lake, but 
you'll have a chance to try it, young gentlemen, if you 
don't get into that canoe at once ! " 

There was a sudden flurry of sand, a wild scramble, 
and both boys were at the canoe before him. 

"Did you speak of leaving us, Father?" June in- 
quired blandly. " How long shall we wait for him, 
Max?" 

"Doesn't Hope ever go in swimming with you?" 
Mr. Ralston asked as the paddles began to flash in tlie 
sunlight. 

" Hope doesn't care so much for the water as she 
did last summer," June replied. u And then she was 
poisoned, you know, and she's only just got over 
that." 

" She swims very well. I should think she would 
like some points from Max on diving." 

" The girls don't care much for it, Uncle," said 
Max, coloring a little. " Charlotte and Anstice aren't 
allowed to bathe until the middle of the morning and 
Hope likes to wait and go with them. I did get Nan 
to dive once, but she wouldn't try it a second time. 
She said her eyelashes turned inside out and stuck into 
her eyes." 



A MORNING SWIM 175 

" It's odd that Hope feels that way," commented 
Mr. Ralston. " We must take her with us some morn- 
ing." 

Neither boy made any response, but the speaker, 
absorbed in the beauty of the morning, did not notice 
their rather marked silence. 

Hope had been disappointed to find that her father 
had gone with the boys. Her plan was for him to 
take a dip with her and Molly, and her gloomy face 
attracted Mrs. Ralston's attention. 

" I am sorry you are disappointed, dear. They 
would have made room for you, too, had they known 
you cared." 

Hope's ill-temper was not wholly for the reason 
her mother thought. She made no reply, but arranged 
daisies and ferns in a glass for the breakfast-table. 
For almost the hundredth time, she eyed its simple ap- 
pointments distastefully. 

" How I do hate these dishes ! And it does seem 
so — so stingy not to have a single servant ! " 

Hope did not really intend her mother to hear, but 
Mrs. Ralston looked up quickly. 

" Daughter, do you know the reason why I didn't 
bring either cook or Susan down here this summer? 
It was wholly because I thought it better for you and 
June to have some daily household tasks. You have 
no time for anything of the kind during the rest of 
the year, and three long months of idleness in this 



176 WHEN MAX CAME 

isolated place would be bad for you both. I saw it 
was confining to get all our meals, and that was why 
I decided to go to Mrs. Tyler's for dinner. But our sim- 
ple breakfasts and suppers, with the slight work re- 
quired to keep the house in order, can be a tax upon 
none of us." 

Mrs. Ralston spoke more seriously than she often 
did, and Hope made no reply. 

14 Father and the boys will be hungry when they 
come," her mother added after a moment. " Ah, 
Molly is awake! Do you want to dress her? " 

Hope went willingly. She was never impatient or 
unsympathetic with the little curly-headed sister, and 
the cloud on her face soon vanished before Molly's 
fascinating dimples and loving ways. 

After breakfast, she overheard fragments of a con- 
versation between Anstice and Max, who was splic- 
ing a fish line on the grassy bank below the window. 
She did not catch its beginning but her curiosity was 
sufficiently aroused to induce her to join them. 

"Max, is there really a mystery?" Anstice was 
asking, while her blue eyes grew interested and ex- 
cited. 

" On my honor there is," Max replied, intent on 
his work. 

"Where?" asked Hope. 

Her cousin looked up quickly. He did not answer 
at once. " You know that point where we go to 



A MORNING SWIM 177 

bathe?" he finally asked. "Have you ever been 
ashore there? " 

Both girls shook their heads. It was a sandy point, 
stretching sharply into the lake. Beyond the beach 
were huckleberry bushes, a fringe of higher shrubs 
and a few trees, before the slope of the hills began. 

Max hesitated a second, a mischievous smile curling 
his lips. After the pause, he evidently made up his 
mind to go on. 

" You remember about Captain Kidd and his buried 
treasure? That isn't the only mystery. June and I 
found one on that point." 

" Is it a nice one? " inquired Anstice. 

" That depends upon what you mean by * nice/ ' 

" Where is it ? Is it hard to find ? " 

"If you really wish to go, I'll tell you how, but 
you must be sure to follow directions minutely. You 
must go on a Friday morning between ten and eleven, 
and approach just as silently as possible. Land on 
the left side of the point and be very sure to leave the 
boat so that you can push off again in an instant ; don't 
unship your oars. Remember, also, to leave them 
pulled in with the blades exactly parallel with the 
gunwales." 

Max's eyes were dancing with amusement at the se- 
rious faces of the two girls. 

" Step ashore with caution and be certain that your 
right foot touches land first. I couldn't answer for 



178 WHEN MAX CAME 

the consequences if it happened to be the left one! 
Once on shore, follow the left edge of the point until 
you find a very narrow path. Every few feet you 
would better stop and listen for sounds of danger. 
Proceed in this way with the greatest care until you 
have on one side a small maple and on the other, a 
good-sized birch. At that point, you'd better turn 
back!" 

" Oh, Max, go on ! " urged Anstice, her eyes big 
with excitement. For a moment, Max would not 
yield to any urging, but he finally continued his di- 
rections. 

" When you have the two trees in line, stop again 
to listen. Unless there is a grasshopper or a cricket 
chirping, giving it up at once as too perilous to be 
thought of. If you do hear a cricket, it will be safe 
to go on, though of course, two would be a better 
omen. Ahead, and just a little to the right, is a group of 
tallish bushes. Approach noiselessly till you judge you 
are within twenty feet, and then, proceeding from left 
to right, circle the clump three times, keeping at that 
distance from it. When you have finished the third 
circuit, listen again for the cricket, and if you hear it, 
walk with your forefingers crossed behind you, 
straight to the bushes and look in. There, you will 
see the mystery ! " 

" Oh-h, I shall certainly go," said Anstice excitedly. 
"On Friday, then, Hope!" 



A MORNING SWIM 179 

" You must remember all the directions," counseled 
mischievous Max. Anstice promptly rehearsed them. 

" What can it be? Won't any day but Friday do ? " 
she exclaimed when she had the nonsensical rigamarole 
at her tongue's end. " Oh, it will be such fun, but 
it's a whole week to wait ! " 

Hope turned away, half-interested, half -mystified, 
and not quite certain whether or not Max was really 
joking. 



o 



CHAPTER XIII 

ROME AND RONALD 

44 /^"^\H, I suppose there is no reason why Hope 
shouldn't sleep on the mountain if she 
wishes, George!" sighed Mrs. Ralston. 
" But as a matter of fact, I don't believe she does 
want to ; she only thinks she does ! n 

" That's true of many things on which we set our 
hearts," said Mr. Ralston merrily, " but Hope, like 
all the rest of us, ' wants what she wants when she 
wants it ! ' I wonder if Nan wouldn't like to keep 
her company.'* 

" Oh, George, I beg of you not to suggest it ! Nan 
will be wild to go, and her mother is so nervous that 
she wouldn't sleep a moment all night, conjuring up 
things that might happen. Sometimes I think it is 
fortunate that she doesn't get about very much nor 
know all the things her girls do with our children. 
In some ways she is a very sensible mother, but she 
couldn't endure this ! " 

" All right ! We won't make Nan unhappy by sug- 
gesting it" 

" Hope won't enjoy herself ; she won't sleep well, 

1 80 



ROME AND RONALD 181 

and you will have to stay near her, George, or she'll be 
frightened. I know she'd better not try it, and I al- 
most wish she wouldn't, but I am willing, since she is 
so anxious to go." 

" Hope doesn't seem quite her usual self," said Mr. 
Ralston, who was watching with interest the game of 
tennis in progress before the house. It was hotly con- 
tested, for Max and June were about equally matched, 
and both were in dead earnest. 

" I don't know what is the matter with her," re- 
plied Mrs. Ralston. " At times, I have thought that 
she was a little jealous because June is so absorbed in 
Max, but Hope herself has Anstice and Charlotte. It 
seems best not to be too observant." 

A shout went up from the tennis players, for Max, 
in a wild rush to return a ball, was unable to stop, 
lost his balance and went headfirst into a lilac bush. 
He picked himself out, quite unhurt but much dishev- 
eled. 

" That gives you the set ! " he called good-na- 
turedly. 

" I had hard work to get it ! " grinned his cousin. 
" Say, Max, did you think you could dive through that 
tough old lilac?" 

" No, I thought it was a laurel and went to get 
some leaves to offer you ! " retorted Max, vaulting 
the net with graceful ease. 

"Is it really worth getting so warm over?" in- 



1 82 WHEN MAX CAME 

quired Mrs. Ralston, smiling at the two as they 
dropped on the lower step, hot and breathless, with 
disordered hair and flushed faces. 

" Oh, yes, Auntie ! " exclaimed Max. 

" Mother, that was a great set ! " added June. 
" And it is only the third I've ever won from 
Max." 

"Are you the champion at school ?" asked Mr. 
Ralston. 

Max looked up, tossing back his tumbled hair. 

" No, indeed, Uncle ! I can beat some of the boys, 
but I've never won a set from Ronald Maclvor. I've 
never beaten Mr. Thornley, either. I have won scat- 
tered games from both, but never a full set. Ronald 
has beaten St. George, though; he's the only fellow 
who has ever done that! We practise a great deal, 
for it is possible to play all winter in Rome." 

w What is your specialty then ? " 

Max blushed. " I haven't any, Uncle George ! " he 
said frankly. " You'd scarcely believe I could be the 
son of a man who does things with his brain that make 
half Europe sit up and pay attention! I can speak 
two or three languages decently enough to be of some 
use to Dad when we are traveling, but I'm not noted 
for doing anything particularly well ! " 

Uncle George smiled. Though gifts possessed by 
his brilliant father might be denied to Max, the fairies 
who presided over his cradle had not come empty- 



ROME AND RONALD 183 

handed. A happy, contented disposition and the 
power of making people like him, were a birthright 
not to be despised. Mr. Ralston's eyes had a very 
friendly expression as he made a brief comment. 

" There are many people in the world who do noth- 
ing in particular, but do that very well. Some of 
them possess much fine gold in the shape of char- 
acter." 

" Max, how do you spend your time? " inquired his 
aunt. " You have never told us." 

" Yes, give us an account of a * day in modern 
Rome ! ' " said June. " I've meant to ask you before 
what you do with yourself." 

" I'm a very busy person, Auntie ! " began Max. 
" Dad and I have an apartment in a big hotel. It's 
just like living in a separate house, only our meals are 
served by the hotel. We have a little salon or re- 
ception room and a dining-room, and there's a big 
library besides Dad's study. Then there are three 
bedrooms and a bath. In the morning Giovanni 
comes and wakes me — " 

"Who's he?" asked June. 

" Haven't I ever told you about Giovanni ? He's 
a great institution! Dad and I couldn't get on with- 
out him. Why, he's an Italian who's been with us 
ever since I can remember. He sees to the apart- 
ment, and orders the meals and pays the bills, and 
looks after everything in general. If you want any- 



1 84 WHEN MAX CAME 

thing at all, from a motor-car to a quinine pill, 
Giovanni is the person to ask. He worships the 
ground Dad walks on, and he's rather fond of me, 
especially now that I've reached the age where he 
no longer has to wrestle with me on the subject of 
clean hands and fresh collars! I can remember go- 
ing to Dad in a towering rage because I was sure 
Giovanni was injuring my health by washing me so 
much!" 

" Max, that does sound extremely natural ! " ob- 
served his aunt. 

" The sentiment finds an echo in my own breast ! " 
commented June gravely. " When I consider my own 
sufferings along that line — but go on ! " 

" It was comical when I was getting well in Jersey 
this spring," continued Max. " Uncle Dick's man 
thought he had plenty of time to do anything I needed, 
and Connie's old nurse had her feelings frightfully in- 
jured because they sent for a trained attendant in- 
stead of letting her coddle me, and Giovanni told Dad 
with tears in his eyes that much as he grieved to al- 
low the signore to return alone to Rome, he simply 
could not leave the signorino ill and forsaken, at the 
mercy of those cold Inglesi servants ! " 

"What did your father do?" 

" Oh, Dad told Giovanni that he should stay with 
me, and Giovanni was tickled in stripes. It was 
genuine devotion on his part, for he doesn't speak 



ROME AND RONALD 185 

English and hates England. Still, Jersey wasn't so 
bad, for almost everybody there understands French, 
and Giovanni speaks that fluently. He isn't an ordi- 
nary servant, you know, and the care he gave me was 
the kind money can't buy. Giovanni is very devout 
and Aunt May told me afterwards that he went every 
day to the Catholic church and burned candles for me 
before the altars of the saints. She asked him if 
he thought they would intercede for me since I wasn't 
a Catholic. He looked quite distressed for a second 
and then replied : ' Madonna, the saints are very pow- 
erful, and I love the signorino ! ' " 

" I think that was extremely touching, Max ! " said 
Mrs. Ralston with quick sympathy. 

" Aunt May thought it was," responded Max. 
" Giovanni is top-notch and no mistake ! He's gone 
along to India now, so I'm not worrying over my dad. 
Well, to go back to Rome, I usually breakfast alone, 
for Dad hardly ever gets up before noon. I have 
only fruit and chocolate and rolls. After breakfast 
I look in to see if Dad's awake; he usually isn't. It's 
school until one, six days in the week — no holiday for 
us. I get home about half after one, and Dad tries 
always to plan so that we have luncheon together. 
After that, I invariably go out. If it rains, I go to a 
gymnasium, and on fine days, I have great fun. Some- 
times I ride with Dad or Uncle Dick, and sometimes I 
go exploring with Connie and her governess, and very 



1 86 WHEN MAX CAME 

often I go to the Borghese Gardens and play ball or 
tennis with the boys. 

" Ronald is my chief chum, but there's a fellow 
named Louis Santo-Ponte whom I like tremendously. 
His father is Italian, but his mother is English. We 
have great sport together. It is tea-time when we 
stop playing and I always have my tea either with the 
Lisles or dear Granny Thornley. Then I go up to 
our rooms where Dad has usually come in and is dress- 
ing for dinner. Very likely he is dining out, but we 
almost always have an hour or so, and that is our 
especial time together. If Dad is going out, I some- 
times have dinner with the Thornleys, or Aunt May 
will send word that she and Uncle Dick are going out 
and ask me to dinner with Connie and Mrs. Ferris. 
But often I dine entirely alone, and Giovanni waits 
on me as if I was the Prince of Wales! Dear old 
Giovanni! He's awfully good to me, but he's very 
particular about my manners, and though he's ex- 
tremely respectful, I have to behave just as cere- 
moniously when I'm all alone as when we have guests. 
Dad entertains a good deal, but then he uses one of the 
private dining-rooms of the hotel and I'm not in- 
vited! However, he often has one or two guests in 
our own apartment, and Dad's guests are usually 
frightfully interesting. I enjoy that immensely, but 
the next day, I never know my lessons ! " admitted 
Max with amusing frankness. 



ROME AND RONALD 187 

" I'm delighted when there are just a few guests 
and I may come to dinner. They are always men 
who've done things, you know, and I could listen to 
them all night. Where was I? Oh, after dinner, I 
study till I'm too sleepy to see longer and then I tum- 
ble into bed. One day is very much like another. 
Of course there are variations; sometimes for sins of 
omission or commission, I have to go back to school 
for an hour or so after luncheon, and sometimes 
Ronald or Louis comes to study, or I am with them. 
The days go so fast they seem like little smears. I 
have ever so many nice times," concluded Max with 
a smile, " for Dad's friends are perfectly dandy to 
me!" 

" It doesn't sound like an idle or unhappy exist- 
ence," said Mrs. Ralston. 

" Max, you're the kind of boy who has a good 
time anywhere, aren't you? " 

Max looked up inquiringly. Uncle George's eyes 
were smiling, but his question had been serious. 

" Almost always," he replied. " June, I wish you 
and Ronald could know each other. Ronald is more 
sport! I've never seen any one just like him." 

" He has a Scotch name," remarked Mr. Ralston. 

" He is Scotch. His father is General Maclvor and 
there are two older daughters. Ronald is such a queer 
chap. He's very practical in some ways, but he's 
always imagining things and has wonderful projects 



1 88 WHEN MAX CAME 

on hand. He can ' pretend ' better than any fellow 
I know. He was tremendously interested in the lib- 
eration of Italy, and knew the details of all the battles 
and just worshipped Garibaldi. One while he had a 
picture of him in his room and used to burn candles 
and incense before it. He also wore a Garibaldi hat 
and was very low in his mind because he wasn't per- 
mitted to sport a red shirt ! " 

" He must be a circus ! " grunted June. 

"He is ; but Ronald gets so awfully in earnest over 
these things that you don't know how to take him. 
Sometimes he is so wrapped up in one of his projects 
that he doesn't seem to have good sense! He will 
study and bone like mad over some one subject that 
pleases him and let everything else go to the dogs. 

" Ronald and I were in Paris once," went on Max 
with a sudden smile. " We were allowed to go out 
alone together. We were about fourteen at the time. 
First we went to a shop and each bought a cane. 
Then we hired an open cab and drove all over Paris, 
leaning forward on our canes, pretending it was the 
French revolution and we were the aristocracy look- 
ing down on the populace ! " 

Mr. Ralston gave an amused laugh. " Didn't 
you enjoy it as much as he? " 

" Oh, yes, Uncle, that was fun ! But the next win- 
ter Ronald did something that got him into a mess. 
He decided that he would like to own slaves and that 



ROME AND RONALD 189 

he would buy an island off the coast of the United 
States where cotton could be raised, and have slaves 
and a plantation house. Of course, Ronald knew per- 
fectly well that slavery doesn't exist in the United 
States and that the whole scheme was wild. He wrote 
to some land company in South Carolina and actually 
got into communication with a man who owned a sea 
island. Of course this took a long time, but Ronald 
put in all his extra moments in reading everything he 
could find about the southern United States and the 
cultivation of cotton, and in designing his plantation 
house. He had it all planned, with quarters for the ne- 
groes and everything complete. There were to be huge 
rooms and a marble swimming pool, and his favorite 
horse was to have a stall in the wing of the house 
where Ronald's apartments were. It was arranged 
that I should live with him most of the time, and we 
could not decide whether we should take turns super- 
vising things, or engage an overseer." 

" From where were your slaves coming? " inquired 
Uncle George, much entertained by the project. 

" Don't ask me, Uncle ! I think Ronald intended 
to import them from the coast of Africa! He actu- 
ally carried on the correspondence with that man over 
here who thought 'him in earnest about purchasing 
the land, and it had gone about as far as it could 
when the catastrophe happened. 

" One morning the servant who sorted the letters, 



190 WHEN MAX CAME 

got them mixed and put one from this South Carolina 
man at General Maclvor's plate. His name is Ronald, 
too, so he naturally opened and read it and demanded 
an explanation. Ronald wouldn't explain; therefore 
he was shut in his room till he was ready to tell what 
the affair was about. I think at first, Ronald was too 
amazed to see that it was all up, and later — well, 
Ronald is Scotch, and he's General Maclvor's son, 
and he simply didn't think it was worth while to ex- 
plain matters ! " 

"In other words, just plain stuffy!" commented 
June. 

" That's about it. Ronald was locked up for two 
days and still he would not tell, so General Maclvor 
said he'd thrash him if he didn't. After due con- 
sideration, Ronald explained the matter so far as he 
was able to make it clear to his bewildered parent, 
who promptly gave him a licking for being such an 
idiot!" 

" I think he deserved it ! " declared Mr. Ralston. 

" When I saw Ronald next, he was in the Borghese 
Gardens. He seemed unhappy and said he was look- 
ing for poisonous mushrooms ! He told me he rather 
enjoyed being shut up on bread and water, for he 
pretended all the time that he was a prisoner in the 
Bastile. Neither did he mind being thrashed for ob- 
stinacy, but it hurt his feelings to be licked for being 
a fool!" 



ROME AND RONALD 191 

" Oh, Max, what a ridiculous story ! " laughed his 
aunt, while June was holding his aching sides and 
Mr, Ralston was chuckling with amusement. 

" That boy must be either a genius or an idiot ! " 
he commented. 

" Ronald told me that when General Maclvor saw 
the plans for the plantation house all drawn to scale, 
he grew perfectly purple in the face, and when he did 
speak, it was in language no gentleman should use be- 
fore his son. Once, Ronald had an essay to write on 
a * Day at the Seaside ' and he couldn't write it till he 
got fairly into the seaside mood. So he partly filled 
the bath and put in some salt, and took off his shoes 
and rolled up his trousers and pranced up and down 
in the water to work himself to the proper pitch of 
enthusiasm. Ronald isn't really crazy, only he isn't 
able to attend to more than one idea at a time, and 
they take him desperately hard! I think that's the 
reason he does so well the things to which he gives his 
full attention. He is a crack tennis player and a per- 
fect shark at mathematics. I'm awfully fond of 
Ronald, but I can't help seeing his funny side." 

" Where is he now ? " 

" His last letter was from Scotland where he and 
his father had gone for the shooting. In it he out- 
lined the constitution of a kind of Masonic order he is 
thinking of founding. He is going to make me Com- 
mander-in-Chief of all the United States branches 



192 WHEN MAX CAME 

when they are federated. He had not been able to 
plan it as fully as he hoped, because the General seemed 
suspicious whenever he found him writing, but 
he should perfect the details this winter. The Gen- 
eral is a brave soldier, but to get along with Ronald, 
one needs a sense of humor, and the old gentleman has 
absolutely none. I found that out when I once had a 
bit of a row with him." 

" Tell us ! " June commanded. 

His cousin smiled. " It was several years ago, 
when I'd been sent to my room for some sin Fd com- 
mitted — I forget now what it was. There was noth- 
ing to do, and after an hour or so, I grew decidedly 
bored. I looked from my window, and directly un- 
der it, saw Dad and two gentlemen who were having 
tea in the garden below. I was feeling rather an- 
noyed with Dad, for he had refused to listen to my 
very plausible excuses and had sentenced me abruptly 
to solitary confinement. On the floor was a small 
leopard skin that had been given me by a friend of 
Dad's who is a famous African hunter. Fd always 
intended, when I had the time, to stuff that leopard 
and this seemed a good chance, so I pinned its edges 
together and rammed in a pillow. Of course its legs 
were limp, but the head was decidedly fierce and its 
eyes particularly glaring. When it was done I was 
rather pleased with it. There was also in the cor- 
ner a ten- foot Arab spear that some one else had 



ROME AND RONALD 193 

given me, and I found some string and tied that 
leopard to the spear and carefully dangled it from my 
window. It was really effective for the limp legs 
didn't show much in that attitude. 

" I lowered it slowly and cautiously through the 
tree outside, but as luck would have it, the string 
broke, and the leopard, after catching for an instant on 
a branch, flopped down directly on the table. There 
was quite a scene! Dad and one of the gentlemen 
sprang to their feet in a hurry, but the other, who was 
General Maclvor, tipped backward in his chair and 
lay sprawling on the gravel. The table went over 
with a crash and the leopard pitched into his face! 
It was rather a mix-up ! 

" Dad seized the leopard, for of course he recog- 
nized it after the first second, and he and the other 
gentleman began to laugh ; but the General swore, and 
I didn't see what happened next, for I thought it pru- 
dent to get away from the window." 

" What happened when Uncle Rod came upstairs? " 
June demanded as soon as he was able to speak. 
" Did little Max get a spanking? " 

His cousin grinned. " It's lucky for me that my 
dad possesses a keen sense of the ridiculous! The 
only time he ever whipped me was once when I told 
him a lie, and of course he had to lick me for that. 
Oh, he came up and made some remarks and tried to 
appear shocked, but I knew all the while that he was 



i 9 4 WHEN MAX CAME 

immensely amused. You see it really was an acci- 
dent, for the string broke, and I never meant to let it 
go down on the table; I only intended to dangle 
it around in the tree. ' Little Max ' apologized to 
those gentlemen and didn't have the leopard skin 
again for a few days. That was hard lines, because 
I usually took it to bed with me, and I missed it? 
The General was decidedly ungracious over the 
apology, and Dad afterwards said that he was furi- 
ously angry because he had been so startled. I fancy 
he did make rather a ridiculous picture flat on his 
back in the gravel, and a good many people saw him 
in that position ! But, Uncle, are we really going up 
the mountain ? " 

" I'm with you, and I've just coaxed permission for 
Hope to go. Shall it be Blueberry or Bald face ? " 

" Blueberry ! " agreed the boys with one voice. 
" But, of course, Hope's going ! " June added. " Why 
shouldn't she? I won't go if she can't." 

" Blueberry it is then ! I wonder if we can hire a 
horse to take us to the foot of the mountain." 

" I doubt it," said his son. " I never was in a place 
where the farmers were so unwilling to let people hire 
one. They say it is because of the bad roads and the 
danger of meeting automobiles, but it is a fact that 
they won't let you have one unless you promise 
solemnly to walk it up hill and walk it down hill and 
get out and fan it on all the levels ! " 



ROME AND RONALD 195 

"June, you forget that at every cross-road one 
must offer it smelling-salts ! " put in Max. 

" I may be more successful ! " declared Mr. Ral- 
ston. " It's six miles to the foot of the mountain and 
perhaps we would better drive. We will plan to walk 
back, but if it promises to-morrow to be a clear night, 
we'll see about getting Mr. Tyler to take us over. ,, 

"Look here, Mother!" exclaimed June. "Why 
not ask Mr. Tyler to take the hayrack ? Then you and 
Molly and every one could go ! " 

" June, that's a bright idea," said his father. " We 
might start early enough so that all the girls could 
climb the mountain. We'll ask Mr. Tyler to go also 
so as to come down with Charlotte and Nan, and 
Mamma and Molly can nap on the hay. How's that, 
Helen?" 

" We should enjoy it, shouldn't we, Molly kins ? 
The girls would like it ever so much, George. The 
moon will be nearly full to-morrow and the drive 
home will be delightful." 

" And Nan will be reconciled to returning if it is 
to be a hay-ride," said Mr. Ralston merrily. " That's 
a great suggestion and we'll surely carry it out. Well, 
June, — wherefore? " 

He looked in amusement at his son, who had sud- 
denly reached for a newspaper which he unfolded and 
ostentatiously arranged as a screen between his cousin 
and himself. 



196 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Max is spooning with Mother at such a rate that 
it makes me blush ! " replied June with a wicked grin. 

" What is the proverb about people who live in 
glass houses? I know another boy who likes to be 
caressed ! " protested Mrs. Ralston. 

" Max acts as if he'd had some previous practice," 
June went on teasingly. 

" I have ! " acknowledged his cousin unexpectedly. 
" Aunt May often pets me, and as for Mrs. Thornley 
— why, since I grew too big to sit on her lap, Granny 
lets me hold her hand by the hour ! " 

" Bravo, Max ! " laughed his amused uncle, while 
June groaned in comic dismay as he withdrew the im- 
provised screen. 

" I think, Auntie," said Max softly under cover of 
the rustling paper, " I never truly missed my mother 
until I had you. For I know you are like her ! " 

Mrs. Ralston's eyes filled. " How I wish you could 
have each other now! Edith would so love the dear 
boy her baby has grown to be." 

Max kissed her hand impulsively in a pretty, foreign 
fashion, and turned to grin at his cousin, who was 
pretending to be deeply scandalized. 

" Ready for another game? " 

" In a moment. Tell us first if this is the way you 
conduct yourself with Uncle Rod?" 

Max gave him a mischievous glance as he reached 
for his tennis racquet. 



ROME AND RONALD 197 

"With Dad? Oh, when I want to be affectionate 
with him, I chew his ears, and then he pulls my hair 
and tells me that I am a nuisance! Look sharp! 
This set shall be mine ! " 



CHAPTER XIV 

BLUEBERRY MOUNTAIN 

THERE was great excitement on the afternoon 
chosen for the hay-ride and mountain climb. 
The August day was a perfect one, not too 
warm and yet not chilly. Mr. Tyler, fortunately at 
leisure, was in a holiday mood, and Charlotte and 
Anstice were delighted with the prospect of a share 
in the fun. 

Promptly at one o'clock, Mr. Tyler drove up to 
the Ralston cottage with the big rack and the stout 
farm horses. The rack was nearly full of springy 
hay, and over this he had spread and tied a big can- 
vas, used in winter for protecting the ricks. 

" How shall I ever get in ? " Mrs. Ralston inquired 
in perplexity. 

"June, bring a chair! " called Mr. Tyler, giving his 
hand to Hope, who climbed on the wheel, stepped on 
the top rail, and jumped down beside Anstice. " Just 
hand Molly to me," he added to Mr. Ralston. 

Molly was tossed to the farmer, who caught her as 
if she were a bundle of straw, and in a business-like 

198 



BLUEBERRY MOUNTAIN 199 

way pitched her, squealing with delight, on the hay be- 
hind him. 

June brought the chair, one of the side rails of the 
rack was removed and Mrs. Ralston made her ascent. 

" Max, bring some cushions ! " directed his uncle, 
and presently Mrs. Ralston and the girls were made 
very comfortable, seated flat on the soft canvas-cov- 
ered hay with cushions at their backs. Luncheon, 
wraps and blankets were stowed away. 

" Better take that chair along, June," said Mr. 
Tyler. " Your mother may want to get out while 
we're up the mountain." 

" And I want my book ! " exclaimed Mrs. Ralston. 
" You will be gone for some time." 

Max ran back for it and for Molly's Teddy bear 
which she insisted should accompany them. 

"All ready?" asked Mr. Tyler. "Get up, then, 
Billy ! Move along, Lady ! " 

June and Max tumbled in at the rear of the wagon 
and the expedition started amid giggles and squeals 
of pleasure from the girls and Molly. 

Recent rains had laid the dust and on that bright 
afternoon it seemed a delightful way to travel along 
the shady country road where the leafy tree tops al- 
most met overhead, and occasional branches scraped 
the side of the rack and tickled one's neck. Then the 
road would wind through open spaces with sunny 
meadows and farm lands stretching away to woods 



2oo WHEN MAX CAME 

or water in the distance. There were comfortable 
looking houses, too, where Molly was on the watch for 
chickens, ducks or possible baby pigs. Their progress 
was not rapid, for the wagon was heavy, and as they 
approached the mountain the steep places became more 
frequent. 

" I'd no idea that Blueberry was so high ! " ex- 
claimed Charlotte as the mountain seemed absolutely 
to overhang their heads. " How dark and black it 
looks!" 

"It is higher than Baldface," replied Mr. Tyler. 
" Sailors coming in from sea raise Blueberry first of 
the shore hills." 

" Oh, Mamma, I wish you could climb with us ! " 
said Hope. " It is a shame for you and Molly to 
wait here in the rack while we are having supper on 
the mountain." 

" Molly couldn't possibly climb so far, dear." 

" Now, I think Mr. Ralston and I between us, could 
pack Molly if you'd like to go," said Mr. Tyler, turn- 
ing a kindly, weather-beaten face from his horses. 
" There's places where she could walk, and it's no- 
where so hard climbing as on Baldface. Except just 
at the top, there's a fair trail." 

" Don't you want to try, Helen ? " asked Mr. Ral- 
ston. 

" I'd love to if it was just for myself, George, but 
it seems as if you had enough to take in the way of 



BLUEBERRY MOUNTAIN 201 

blankets and provisions. And it means that Mr. Tyler 
would have to carry Molly all the way down." 

" Molly doesn't weigh more than a couple of lambs 
and I've often packed them down Bald face. To be 
sure, I tie their legs together and hang them around 
my shoulders, but I guess Molly and I could hit it off 
pickaback. It does seem a pity for you to stop all 
that time at the foot of the mountain." 

" Oh, Helen, do try ! " begged Mr. Ralston boyishly 
and the young people added their entreaties. 

" Max and I will carry all the lunch so you and 
Mr. Tyler will have only Molly to see to! " exclaimed 
June. 

" We will divide things evenly," protested Mr. Ral- 
ston, giving his eager son an appreciative pat on the 
shoulder, while Charlotte avowed her intention of 
carrying her full share. 

Mrs. Ralston gladly consented. Molly was de- 
lighted to be allowed to go with the " big children " 
and crawled through the bars at the beginning of the 
trail before Mr. Tyler had arranged at a near-by 
house for the care of the horses and rack. He looked 
the party over critically when they were ready to 
start to see if wraps and luncheon were fairly distrib- 
uted. 

" Come along, Molly Cottontail ! " called her father. 
" This is good smooth walking through the pasture, 
and when your feet are tired, just wave them ! " 



202 WHEN MAX CAME 

Molly clasped his hand and pranced along with many- 
unnecessary steps and flourishes. 

For some distance after leaving the pasture they 
followed a rough cartpath through the woods. It was 
deep with dead leaves and ferns that in places almost 
obliterated it. 

" It scarcely seems possible that we are going up 
hill ! " observed Mrs. Ralston at length, for the rise 
was so gradual that it was hardly perceptible. 

" There's lots of chopping done on Blueberry, and 
the horses need to have a fair trail out/' replied Mr. 
Tyler. " We turn off before long and then the walk- 
ing isn't so easy. Boys! Don't get too far ahead, 
and watch out on the left for a tree marked with red 
paint." 

His warning caused a great sensation among the 
young people. 

" Oh, Mr. Tyler! " exclaimed Hope. " Is the trail 
marked with paint?" 

"If it isn't worn off. Four summers ago I blazed 
the way for the folks staying at our house." 

" Don't tell us ! " begged Anstice, dancing up to 
him. " Let us go ahead and find the path and only 
tell us if we go wrong; do, dear Mr. Tyler! " 

" All right ! " grinned the good-natured farmer. 
" I'll drop back with the old folks, but Nan, don't 
you get too far ahead nor go too fast." 

The boys were equally pleased at the prospect of 



BLUEBERRY MOUNTAIN 203 

looking for the blazes, but the first one was found by 
Hope. Some bark had been chipped by a hatchet 
stroke from a maple at the left of the trail and on the 
smooth face of the wood was a dull, red blur. 

" Sharp to the left," called Mr. Tyler, " and look 
here, children, go slow! Mr. Ralston, you've packed 
Molly some distance, — swap off now with me. 
You're more used to city pavements, and I've run the 
ranges since I was a little shaver." 

Molly's chubby arms were clasped around Mr. 
Tyler's sunburned neck, and with her on his back he 
followed the others into the woods. 

A shout from Max indicated the second blaze on 
a big stone. 

" What fun they are having ! " said Mrs. Ralston, 
smiling. " The sport of finding those marks doubles 
their pleasure, Mr. Tyler." 

" They won't find them all so easy, but it's no matter 
as long as they don't get too far ahead." 

Mr. Tyler laughed as he spoke and presently they 
overtook the others all in doubt as to which of two 
faint paths should be chosen. The farmer came to 
a halt, smiling quietly. 

" I see ! I see ! " shrieked Anstice, darting to the 
right " It's on this fallen tree farther up ! Most 
of the paint is covered by moss." 

The rest followed and presently arrived at a clear- 
ing filled with stumps and branches chopped from trees 



2o 4 WHEN MAX CAME 

which had been hauled away for lumber. The whole 
opening was a tangle of raspberry bushes. 

" You'll have to get around this as best you can," 
said Mr. Tyler. " This has sprung up since I was 
here last. The trail starts in again across the brier 
patch, so everybody for himself till we get over the 
other side. Nan, I wouldn't advise you and Hope to 
strike through — better go round the edges." 

The girls turned back, but June and Max plunged 
ahead and were soon swamped in the tangle. The 
others caught glimpses oi them at intervals, walking 
some fallen log. Mr. Tyler looked around reflect- 
ively. 

" This is just the kind of place where bears like 
to come in berry season. I haven't seen one though 
for seven years. We do see deer for they are 
pretty plentiful. Well, if you should meet a bear, it 
would be hard to tell which would be the worst 
frightened, you or he. Indeed, Mrs. Ralston, the mos- 
quitoes are more dangerous in this neighborhood ! " 

They skirted the raspberry patch and Charlotte 
found the blaze before June and Max had struggled 
through the clearing. They reported the rusty remains 
of a cook-stove. 

" Yes, there used to be a cabin where the wood chop- 
pers holed up at night," replied Mr. Tyler, amused 
at their enthusiasm. " It burned a year or so ago. 
This young growth of maple, too, is new to me." 



BLUEBERRY MOUNTAIN 205 

It was not difficult to make their way through the 
young wood, but it covered a considerable area, and 
some of the blazes had been cut away with the older 
trees. Here, the boys supplied landmarks by breaking 
branches. 

At last they came to a wall of stone that seemed 
almost perpendicular, yet the path must lie in that 
direction, since on the face of the cliff shone the red 
blaze. Mr. Tyler looked at it critically. 

" This is all there is of real climbing on Blueberry. 
Good for you, June! That's the way, from crevice 
to crevice! You get to the top and I'll stop on the 
ledge and lend a hand." 

The ascent did not seem perilous with Mr. Tyler's 
iron muscles to help over the first difficulties and June 
beyond to steady one's footsteps. Molly nearly 
choked her father by the tightness of her clutch, but 
she did not scream nor appear frightened. 

Mrs. Ralston and the girls safely on the top, Max 
handed blankets and packages of lunch and disdain- 
ing any aid for himself, scrambled up the steep rock. 
There was still some climbing before them, but it was 
not at all rough. 

" Ah ! I had been wondering why Blueberry was 
so called ! I see now how it got its name," exclaimed 
Mrs. Ralston. 

Bushes loaded with fruit covered the slopes below 
the mountain top, and progress was delayed for a 



2o6 WHEN MAX CAME 

little. The sight of the last red blaze spurred the 
young people to climb over the rocks and come out 
on the very summit where a wonderful view stretched 
before them. Mrs. Ralston stopped with a comical 
wave of her hands. 

" I wouldn't have missed this for anything ! To 
think if it had not been for Mr. Tyler, I'd be sitting 
in the hay at the bottom of the mountain! Why, we 
must see fifteen miles out to sea!" 

"All of that — nearer twenty-five," replied Mr. 
Tyler. " It is a sightly place, and I don't wonder the 
old fellows in Bible times liked to get up on a 
mountain top and pray." 

To the east and the north lay the ocean and the 
river; to the west and south stretched lovely, rolling, 
wooded hills and higher mountains, valleys with shin- 
ing lakes, isolated dots of houses, tiny, toy villages, 
and in the distance, two larger towns; all spread be- 
fore them with a detail of beauty indescribable. 

H Bald face looks like a mere ant-hill, and isn't our 
lake any bigger than that?" 

June grinned at Charlotte's disgusted face. " It 
looks as though a good-sized stone would fill it. 
Doesn't Baldface seem like a sleeping monster?" 

Nan regarded the mountain dreamily. " I think 
he if asleep," she observed, with her love for person- 
ifying natural objects. "When Baldface stretches 
and turns over, he will knock the lake quite out of 



BLUEBERRY MOUNTAIN 207 

commission. Oh, goody ! They're beginning to open 
the lunch ! " 

Mrs. Ralston laughed and looked up. " Come and 
help me. It seems almost profane to eat in face of 
such a view, but half our party has to get down again 
before dark." 

Mr. Tyler had been wandering over the mountain 
top looking for a spring just below the summit. He 
called the boys to fill the empty water can, and drew 
Mr. Ralston aside for a moment's conversation. 

When supper was finished, the sun was approaching 
the western horizon. It was a pity not to see it set, 
but in view of the descent through the darkening 
woods, delay did not seem wise. Mrs. Ralston kissed 
her family, Molly was attached like a limpet to Mr. 
Tyler's brawny back, and after being helped down 
the steep ledges, the party was swallowed up in the 
woods. For a little, they called back and forth to 
one another, but soon the voices and crackling of 
brush grew fainter and the four were left on the 
mountain top. Mr. Ralston gave a sudden exclama- 
tion. 

" We mustn't miss the sunset, and we are on the 
wrong side! Hope, you have your sweater? Luck- 
ily, it isn't cold." 

The sun dropped below the rim of the surrounding 
hills and the sky became red and yellow with streaks 
of molten fire. The earth turned a misty blue, and 



208 WHEN MAX CAME 

shades of pink crept around the horizon. Down in 
the woods a hermit thrush began his evening psalm. 
The valleys darkened imperceptibly, and lamps shone 
from isolated farms. Villages began to twinkle, four 
lighthouses shot out their beaconing rays, and a 
blurred reflection showed where the larger towns lay. 
The water still seemed blue and pink, mirroring the 
clouds above, and suddenly around a headland, came 
a wonder; a brilliant, shining water-mystery, all light 
and silent motion. Seen in that setting, even the Ban- 
gor steamer became a thing of beauty. 

The darkness increased and stars came out one by 
one. In the east appeared a heralding glow, and 
slowly the moon looked over the rounding earth. 
The beauty and silence were too impressive to mar by 
speech, but suddenly Hope grasped her father's arm. 
Directly into the path of radiance stretching from 
the half -risen moon, came a schooner under full sail. 
Like a silent ghost she passed, for one moment sil- 
houetted against the golden background, and then 
vanishing into the darkness from which she came. 

" One might sit here a hundred years and never 
see that again ! " said Mr. Ralston, putting his arm 
around his daughter, who was nestling close to his 
side. 

As the moon rose higher, the mountains assumed 
fresh aspects of beauty, their outlines again revealed 
by a softer light than that of the sun. Faint cloud 



BLUEBERRY MOUNTAIN 209 

mists began to glimmer through the valleys and over 
the lakes. 

Mr. Ralston had chosen a smooth grassy slope just 
below the eastern verge of the summit. It was 
sheltered, thoroughly dry and so situated that any 
restless sleeper could not easily come to harm. Beds 
of fragrant spruce boughs had been cut, and upon one 
of these Hope was rolled in a blanket. Her father 
tucked her in and lay down beside her. The boys 
bunked merrily together on the other side of the 
slope. 

" Good-night, little girl ; try really to sleep, and 
don't be frightened by any noises you may hear. All 
sorts of birds and wild things are awake at night." 

" I wouldn't be afraid of anything with you so 
near ! " replied Hope happily. 



CHAPTER XV 

A MIDNIGHT VISITOR 

THE middle of the night was well past when 
June awoke. It was not a gradual rousing 
from slumber but a sudden start into full con- 
sciousness. He sat up, not knowing what had dis- 
turbed him and at the same instant realized that Max 
was no longer beside him. 

The moon was sloping toward the western side of 
the horizon and many of the twinkling lights had 
disappeared from the wide vista spread below the 
mountain. There was the indefinable feeling that 
proclaims the hour after instead of before midnight. 

June was puzzled and a little troubled by Max's 
absence. His departure had been so silent that it had 
not disturbed his bedfellow. As June looked about 
him in the bright moonlight he heard the crackle of 
a twig from the other side of the summit. 

Reaching for his rubber-soled shoes, he slipped them 
on, dropped his blanket and silently climbed the rock 
above the grassy hollow. He could distinctly see his 
father and Hope, each rolled in a blanket and both 
apparently asleep. 



A MIDNIGHT VISITOR 211 

Just over the summit, Max was standing on a high 
ledge, and looking intently to the west. He turned 
with a significant gesture as his cousin stole quietly 
to his side. 

" Look ! " he whispered, pointing down the slope 
to where the blueberry patches were thickest. 

At first June saw nothing, only heard occasional 
crackles and rustles, indicating that something was 
afoot on the mountain side, but in a moment he dis- 
tinguished a dark, moving mass slowly making its 
way through the bushes. It came fully into the moon- 
light, and its unmistakable poise and swing of the head 
showed that it must be a bear. 

" Isn't that great ! " whispered June. 

Neither boy thought for an instant of being afraid 
It was not a large animal and was wholly intent upon 
its own business of eating berries as it moved slowly 
along, apparently not seeing them. There was little 
wind, and what there was blew toward the boys. 

" I'm going to wake Father ! " said June, dropping 
silently from the ledge. 

Mr. Ralston woke as June touched him, but his 
son laid a hand on his lips and made emphatic ges- 
tures of silence. He rose at once and followed to 
where Max still watched. 

To all appearances, Bruin had no idea that there 
were invaders in his berry pasture; he browsed along 
in complete security. 



212 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Mr. Tyler told me there were signs of a bear in 
the patch, but that they were never dangerous," said 
Mr. Ralston softly. " I didn't mention it for fear of 
frightening your mother. I'll wake Hope, for she 
won't have such a chance again in her lifetime." 

Hope, roused from sound slumber, was inclined to 
think the benefit a doubtful one, but reassured by her 
father, she also crept silently to the point of vantage. 
For some moments they watched the bear curiously. 
He was clumsy in action, yet sure-footed and quiet. 
Suddenly he stopped, sniffed at the ground and gave a 
snort that made Hope jump. 

" I think he's struck our trail," whispered Mr. Ral- 
ston. " He has edged over to the side where we came 
through." 

Bruin showed signs of uneasiness; he nosed sharply 
about ; moved through the bushes with more deter- 
mination and was apparently investigating this in- 
vasion of his own special mountain top. Finally, with 
a rattle and scratch of his claws on the stone, he 
climbed the farther side of the ledge where the party 
was watching. He was distant fully seventy feet, 
but at this sudden move, Hope grasped her father's 
arm. As she did so, her foot dislodged a small stone, 
which crashed to the rock below. The bear wheeled 
and shot away with incredible agility. Still, it did 
not appear that he had actually seen them, for at the 
farther edge of the blueberry patch he stopped, looked 




I THXXK he's stbuck our trail."— Pag* 212. 



A MIDNIGHT VISITOR 213 

back, and rose on his hind legs the better to view the 
unknown cause of his fright. He made a curious 
and interesting picture silhouetted against the moon- 
lit sky, paws hanging at either side. Then he dropped 
abruptly to all-fours and the next instant had vanished 
from the face of the mountain. 

The boys were wildly excited by this adventure. 
Hope, too, was prepared to detect a bear in the slight- 
est sound and even Mr. Ralston felt wakeful and 
unable to rest. Occasional chuckles and whispers 
from the other side of the slope showed that June and 
Max were in no mood for further slumber. Soon 
the birds began and after that no one could sleep. 
There was a medley of chirping and twittering before 
the full orchestra tuned up with the hermit thrush 
as chief soloist, seconded nobly by a brown thrasher; 
a whole chorus of warblers and vireos, with a cuckoo 
for the drum and cymbals. 

Then the sun rose, a sight second only to its setting. 
There came a faint glow in the east, heralded by 
the birds; the light of the moon lessened, and things 
began indefinably to take on a more distinct form. 
The brightening glow stole around the horizon; a few 
floating clouds showed their silver linings; it seemed 
as though the whole earth wakened from slumber and 
opened its eyes for another day. Little by little the 
light grew, seeming to radiate from every direc- 
tion. 



2i 4 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Still, I don't care for it as much as for the sun- 
set," Hope said to her father. " It isn't as mysterious. 
Anything one can imagine might happen after the sun 
goes down, but it begins to be prosaic when you can 
see everything." 

" Don't be poetical, Polly Anne ! " teased June. 

Hope smiled, but turning, caught a glance from 
her cousin. Something in his face made her think 
that he understood exactly what she meant. Nor was 
it the first time the suspicion had been forced upon 
her that Max appreciated her fancies where June only 
poked fun. 

"If we were really camping, we'd have a frying 
pan and do some cooking instead of munching cold 
boiled eggs and sandwiches," said Mr. Ralston, when 
they had completed their scanty toilets and gathered 
for breakfast. 

" I feel very unwashed and not quite dressed 
either," said Hope. " But, oh, it has been such fun \ 
And to think we've seen a bear! Won't the girls 
be interested ! " 

" Uncle, do you suppose we could trail him ? " 

" I doubt it, Max. Some one who was used to 
hunting might do so, but why not let him alone ? Ap- 
parently that is all he wants and what harm does he 
do on this uninhabited mountain top? I'd like to 
trail him just for the chance of getting a photograph 
but it w^ould be only by a miracle that one could be 



A MIDNIGHT VISITOR 215 

secured, for I imagine he comes out only at night. 
Haven't we had a good time? Has it been as much 
fun as you expected ? " 

" More ! " declared both boys with unanimous en- 
thusiasm while Hope hugged her father and protested 
that she would be broken-hearted to have missed it. 
He laughed and looked at her teasingly. 

" And you're not sleepy or tired ? " 

" I do feel queer, but that's because I haven't had 
my clothes off, nor slept so very much. I shall have 
a rest this afternoon and it's been the most fun of 
my lifer 

They waited to see the sun well above the horizon ; 
explored the whole mountain top; added a cairn to 
those already there and after an ineffectual attempt 
to follow the bear for a short distance, collected their 
things and prepared to go down. The ledge was 
simpler in the descent than the ascent and the long 
trail through the growth of young trees was easily 
traced by aid of the broken branches. In the edge of 
the raspberry patch, Max found a wide scarlet ribbon 
floating from the bough of a small maple. 

" Charlotte had that on her hair; Nan's was brown," 
said Hope, glancing at it. " You'd better untie it, for 
she's lost almost all she has." 

Still a little farther down the trail they found three 
feathers stuck erect in the path ; later a pile of pebbles 
and a number of twigs arranged in a fantastic figure. 



216 WHEN MAX CAME 

It was evident that the girls had taken great pleasure 
in thus indicating their downward progress. 

Once out in the wider cart road, Mr. Ralston drew 
June back. 

" Look here, son," he said, putting his arm across 
the boy's shoulders ; " will you be terribly disap- 
pointed if I take Mother off for the last week of my 
vacation? " 

June gave him a quick, inquiring glance. " Why, 
I hate not to have you for all the time, but I won't 
be piggish about it." 

" You see," went on his father, " I want her to have 
a little change from Molly this summer. From here, 
it's very easy to get into Canada, and I've been think- 
ing that I'd like to take her there before I go back. 
We went when we were first married and it would 
be pleasant to go again. For some reasons I want to 
take you all, but that would partly defeat the purpose 
of the trip. I really can't kill off Molly so she won't 
be in evidence for a week! It doesn't seem just fair 
to take you and Max and leave Hope behind to take 
care of Molly, so if you are willing, I think Mother 
and I will go by ourselves. You and Max get along 
so well together, and Molly is devoted to Hope — do 
you think you can manage for a week ? " 

"Of course, Father! Nothing can happen to us, 
and I'll take care of the girls." 

" I know you will. But, June, promise me that 



A MIDNIGHT VISITOR 217 

you won't do any unusual stunts, like this sleeping 
on the mountain for instance." 

" Honor bright ! I hope you and Mother will have 
a dandy time. It will be good for her to be away 
from Molly for a little," June responded cordially. 

" I knew I could count on my boy ! June, I'm 
tremendously glad you are having this summer with 
Max. He certainly is his dad's own son ! " 

June gave his father's arm an affectionate squeeze. 
" Max is going to Yale and we are going to room 
together. I think it's great that he's coming to an 
American college. In a way, it's lucky that he was 
ill last winter, or he'd be ready a year ahead of me. 
He said, though, that Uncle Rod wouldn't let him 
enter until he was eighteen, even if he was ready." 

" I never supposed Rodney would send his boy any- 
where except to Yale. That's great, June! I hope 
the plan of chumming together will materialize. Rod- 
ney and I were staunch friends long before we mar- 
ried sisters. Nothing will please me more than to 
have you and Max as intimate." 

Hope had dropped back and was waiting for them, 
her face flushed and her expression annoyed. Her 
cousin had sauntered slowly on alone. 

" What's the matter, little daughter? Tired? " 

" Not much, but Max is so provoking ! " Hope re- 
plied rather crossly. 

" Bless me ! You don't mean to say that you are 



218 WHEN MAX CAME 

easily teased after spending all your life with June 
and me? It must be time to take a rest. Max, we'll 
call a halt." 

Hope sat down on the fallen tree her father in- 
dicated, but she did not look any more amiable, and 
Max spent the interval wandering in the woods. 
When they started again, the box he carried was nearly 
full of edible mushrooms. 

Just at nine they came through the pasture and 
stopped for water at the farmhouse by the foot of the 
mountain. They dropped their burdens and clustered 
around the well, where the farmer's wife came out to 
greet them and tell of the safe descent of the others 
and how they started homeward as soon as the horses 
were harnessed, Molly asleep on the hay and the girls 
very happy over their successful climb. 

" They said they should be down the road to meet 
you,'' she added, watching them gather their things 
preparatory to beginning the six-mile walk. Hope, as 
she reached for her sweater, accidentally jerked Max's 
box of mushrooms from the curb, scattering its con- 
tents far and wide. 

u Oh, bother! " she exclaimed impatiently. " How 
I do hate these old toadstools! I wish you'd stop 
bringing them home, Max ! " 

" They're not toadstools and they are very good," 
retorted her cousin, but as he spoke, he flung the hand- 
ful he had collected to the fowls in the barnyard. 



A MIDNIGHT VISITOR 219 

" Sis, do cut it out ! " interrupted June with a glance 
of annoyance. " You're the only one who doesn't 
like mushrooms." 

" Those hens will all be dead when Max sees them 
again ! " Hope retaliated. " I'm not going to be 
poisoned, too ! " 

Max tossed a second handful over the fence, kicked 
the empty box into the woodshed and without a word 
turned to swing into step with his cousin, leaving Hope 
to join her father, who had strolled to the gate, be- 
yond hearing of the little controversy. 

Laden with blankets and sweaters, they found the 
walk home both long and warm. Beautiful views on 
either side made the way seem less weary, and oc- 
casional stretches of shaded road were a pleasant con- 
trast to the sunny spaces. In one of these tree-arched 
hollows, June indicated a colony of mushrooms, but 
his cousin only shook his head and walked steadily 
on. 

Hope kept pace with her father, who was explain- 
ing his plans for the trip to Canada. He was sur- 
prised that she seemed less willing and unselfish than 
her brother. 

" I don't mind taking care of Molly," she said 
ungraciously, " and of course I want you and Mamma 
to have a good time, but — the boys ! " 

" They will do nothing they should not, and you're 
not in the least responsible for them. Molly will be 



220 WHEN MAX CAME 

your only charge, and it will be over a week before 
we go. Many nice things may happen in a week ! " 

A mile and a half from home, Charlotte and An- 
stice hailed them. They were sitting on a big log, 
provided with a paper bag of Mrs. Tyler's fresh dough- 
nuts sprinkled with delicious maple sugar. 

" I never ate anything so good ! " exclaimed Max 
as he finished his. 

" I knew Mrs. Tyler was making them, for I smelled 
them," said Charlotte, " so we looked in the kitchen 
window to see whether she'd invite us to have any, 
and she asked if we were going to meet you and then 
gave us one apiece for everybody. They are most 
remarkably good." 

" We are glad you looked in the window," said Mr. 
Ralston gravely. 

Anstice laughed. " We tried to look hungry, but 
we couldn't agree about the best expression to in- 
dicate it. I wanted to open my mouth wide, but Char- 
lotte thought looking very wistful would be better." 

" Nan didn't have any expression to speak of ; she 
only looked silly! We started early and picked ever 
so many wild blackberries." 

" Yes, and we found a stove-bird's nest," remarked 
Anstice. 

"A what?" inquired Mr. Ralston, somewhat be- 
wildered by this new and startling term of ornithology. 

" She means an oven-bird," explained Charlotte 



A MIDNIGHT VISITOR 221 

patiently. " The other day she called an indigo bunt- 
ing a blueing bird ! " 

" What's the difference? " interrupted Anstice. " I 
knew it had something to do with a laundry! But 
tell us about the mountain. Was it fun ? " 

Hope, June and Max all began at once and Mr. 
Ralston listened with amusement to a tale in which 
the bear figured fully as large as life, involved with 
sandwiches, blueberries and the ship in the moon, but 
Hope alone spoke of the sunset, the stars and the hymn 
of the hermit thrush. 

So much to relate made the rest of the way seem 
short and it was a surprise to come so soon upon Mrs. 
Ralston and Molly waiting at the last turn. 

" A bear ! " exclaimed Mrs. Ralston when the story 
had been told for the second time. " George, you 
can't mean it! Aren't you joking? I shouldn't have 
slept a single instant had I known Mr. Tyler saw 
traces of one ! " 

" That's exactly why I didn't tell you ! " replied 
Mr. Ralston. 



CHAPTER XVI 

MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 

CHARLOTTE had been to the village to post 
an important letter and was sauntering slowly 
homeward along the pasture path. It was 
narrow and winding, leading sometimes across open, 
sunny areas, sometimes through thickets, and in one 
part that she liked especially, through a maze of small 
white pines. 

There were hundreds of them, growing without 
order or arrangement, in places so thickly that one 
must really struggle through their branches, and in 
others, enclosing warm, sunlit spaces, carpeted with 
short grass and roofed only by the blue sky. 

Charlotte loved the pine maze, and frequently when 
it was too windy to sit elsewhere in comfort, would 
take refuge in one of these dells, quite sheltered by 
the dense growth. To-day she followed the crooked 
path to one of her favorite spots. As she entered, 
she caught sight of a familiar figure. 

Max had been lying flat on his back, but hearing 
soft footsteps, he sat up and looked through the pines. 
The blue skirt and white sailor blouse might belong to 

222 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 223 

any one of the three girls, but only Charlotte, who was 
subject to headaches, habitually wore a hat. Its con- 
ical crown showed for an instant over a low pine, 
and Max paused in his meditated retreat. The next 
moment Charlotte hailed him. 

"What's the matter?" she inquired after her first 
greeting. 

Max did not answer and Charlotte dropped to the 
ground. She had never before seen Max either angry 
or unhappy, but now he looked as if he were both. 

" Tired ? Hungry ? Want to go home ? " coaxed 
Charlotte. 

Max shook his head at the first and second ques- 
tions, but at the third, he smiled. 

"What's the matter? Come, tell me! You'll feel 
better then. Do you really want to go home ? " 

" Perhaps, but I suppose I'll get over it," admitted 
Max, breaking a twig into bits. Charlotte on her knees, 
with the wind blowing tiny winsome curls about the 
brown face framed by the red Mexican hat, was very 
sweet and persuasive, and Max was mortified and 
indignant. 

" Has somebody been horrid to you ? " she asked, 
settling into a more comfortable position. 

" Oh — probably not ! " replied her companion. 
" Carlotta, were you around that morning when I 
was jollying Hope and Nan about the mystery on the 
point where June and I go to dive? " 



224 WHEN MAX CAME 

Charlotte shook her head. 

" I thought you weren't, but I wish you had been, 
for I can't see how any girl in her senses could have 
thought me in earnest. It seems they poked around 
till they found it and then went into fits. I gave them 
such fool directions that any idiot would have known 
I was joking, but instead of taking it as I meant, they 
bolted, and Uncle George has called me down hard for 
playing a practical joke on them and frightening them 
so." 

"Why, but they weren't frightened!" exclaimed 
Charlotte. " Did they say they were? " 

" No," Max answered. " Auntie and Uncle and I 
happened to be on the lawn when the girls came, both 
dripping wet. Auntie hustled Hope in to change, and 
Nan went directly home. Hope only said that when 
they saw the skull they were startled and ran without 
looking where they went and fell over the bank into 
the lake. She was crying, but I think it was just be- 
cause she was annoyed at tumbling into the water. 
But Uncle George thought she'd been frightened, and 
so he came down on me." 

" Didn't you explain that it was all a joke? " 

" No, of course I didn't ! If Uncle chooses to think 
I would do so mean a thing as deliberately plan to 
frighten a girl, he's perfectly welcome to do so. What 
he thinks is a matter of complete indifference to me! " 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 225 

Charlotte could not help laughing at this absurd 
declaration, scarcely tallying with the mood in which 
she had discovered Max. But in spite of the ob- 
stinate line in which his lips were set, his defiant in- 
dependence was whimsically attractive. 

"Oh, stuffy!" she remarked at length. "But if 
you won't explain, don't blame Hope." 

" Hope's opinion also is nothing to me ! " 

Charlotte shook her curly head at this reply. " Oh, 
well ! if the little boy wants to be a martyr — " she 
teased. 

Max made no response, but continued to dig a hole 
in the turf beside him. After another amused glance, 
Charlotte began to sing mischievously. 

" ' He's going to be a martyr 
On a highly novel plan, 
And all the boys and girls will say 
Oh, what a nice young man ! ' " 

Charlotte paused to note the suspicious curves ap- 
pearing at either corner of Max's mouth. m ' Oh — h, 
what a nice young man ! ' " she repeated softly. 

Max threw away his improvised spade, suddenly 
gave himself a resounding slap on the side of his face 
and turned with a smile. 

" No good my posing with angel wings when I 
haven't them, Carlotta, and no use pretending I don't 
care about Uncle's wigging, because I do ! " 



226 WHEN MAX CAME 

There was something so charming in the impulsive 
boyish gesture and frank acknowledgment that Char- 
lotte smiled in response. 

" You might have explained," she repeated. 
" They weren't frightened, for they couldn't agree 
whether it was the skeleton of a cow or a horse, and 
Xan, wet as she was, ran back to see whether there 
were any horns. Afterwards, Mr. Tyler said it was 
a horse that was drowned when they were cutting ice 
one winter. And as for falling into the lake, it wasn't 
either deep or cold and getting wet doesn't hurt any- 
body." 

" Quite my own opinion ! " Max replied, now patting 
his head most approvingly. " Stop laughing, Car- 
lotta! I need sympathy." 

" I can't help laughing when you're so ridiculous. 
I'm sorry your uncle called you down, but truly, it 
was your own fault if you wouldn't explain. 
Hope—" 

Charlotte paused. Max no longer looked stubborn, 
only serious. Where he had struck it, one cheek was 
scarlet, and Charlotte smiled again as she noticed the 
mark. But how would Max take what she wanted to 
say? 

"What about Hope?" Max inquired, looking up. 
" Were you thinking she'd be sorry that Uncle sailed 
into me? Not much, Carlotta! " 

Max could scarcely have spent his childhood in 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 227 

Italy without acquiring that expressive shrug of the 
shoulders peculiar to all Latin races. The gesture 
with which he ended his sentence interested Charlotte, 
who enjoyed his occasional odd tricks of speech and 
quaint mannerisms that spoke of an experience so 
foreign to her own. In most respects Max resembled 
any well-bred American boy, but he was possessed 
of a certain poise and a graceful courtesy not frequent 
in a lad of his age, while the possibility of his saying 
or doing something unexpected lent a charm to every 
word and action. 

" Hope isn't always nice to you," Charlotte began 
slowly. 

" Always ? " interrupted Max. " The next time you 
notice Hope being nice to me, just call my attention 
to it, will you? " 

" Now listen a minute," said Charlotte, hesitating 
no longer. " It really disturbs me to have you two 
act the way you do. Don't interrupt," she added, as 
Max seemed about to speak. " I don't understand 
any more than you, but I think you're both missing 
a good deal. Hope if nice, Max, only she bristles so 
when she's with you. With Nan and me, she's just 
as different, so bright and clever and full of fun. 
Of course, we didn't know, her before this summer, 
but June says that always before, Hope went every- 
where with him, tramping and fishing and doing the 
things he did, and now, she won't be chummy. And 



228 WHEN MAX CAME 

you can't deny that when you're together, you and she 
are always scrapping." 

"Who begins the scrap, Carlotta?" Max de- 
manded, looking at her mischievously. 

" Oh, Hope ! " was the prompt acknowledgment. 
" But you're a good second. And when you don't 
scrap, it's even worse because then you're as stiff as 
ramrods. I don't understand what the trouble is, for 
I know you both well enough now to be sure you'd 
really like each other if you'd only try." 

" Now, Carlotta," began Max, " let me tell you one 
thing right here. I honestly wanted to be friends 
with Hope, but she wouldn't. I don't thrust my 
friendship on any girl. I know girls can be dandy 
comrades! But as for Hope! Thank you, no more 
for Maxfield!" 

" But you might try," Charlotte protested. 

" Angels couldn't help being provoked with Hope, 
and I told you just now that my pinions hadn't even 
started to grow." 

" I know they haven't ! " agreed Charlotte, " but this 
does seem such a pity. Why don't you ask Hope point 
blank what the trouble is ? " 

" Because I don't care enough about having her for 
a friend," replied Max frankly. " If she was a dif- 
ferent sort, I would in a minute. Now Connie and 
I always clear up our rows most promptly, even if 
they end in our pulling each other's hair, But I was 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 229 

in earnest when I said that Hope's opinion was nothing 
to me." - 

" She's your cousin," said Charlotte gently, " and 
you'd care if you really knew her. Hope isn't as 
prickly as she seems. She's lovely with her little 
sister." 

" She is sweet with Molly," admitted Max. " Look 
here, how long is this going to last? I've had one 
wigging already this afternoon and I don't like being 
pi-jawed any better than the next fellow. When's 
the curtain coming down?" 

" Right off, since you won't be good/' sighed Char- 
lotte, smiling in spite of herself. " Only I'm sorry. 
I think you're rather stubborn." 

Max responded with a graceful and deprecating 
w r ave of both hands. " Carlotta tma/ 9 he remarked 
solemnly, " you may use all the adjectives of that 
nature you can think of. If English fails you, I'll 
willingly supply a choice selection of forceful syno- 
nyms in other languages. I'll listen to the entire list 
very meekly and say, ' Yes, that's me ! ' But — / " 

The sentence ended in another expressive gesture. 

" Max, I'm afraid you're hopeless ! " observed 
Charlotte, wondering for the fiftieth time how Hope 
could remain so persistently indifferent to her cousin's 
winning personality. 

" Oh, not hopeless, Carlotta ! " Max protested 
quickly. " Even the people who know me best enter- 



230 WHEN MAX CAME 

tain a faint expectation that I may improve some day ! 
But why isn't this a good time for us to go and see 
Mr. Lemon?" 

" It does seem to be. The most difficult part is to 
get away without being asked where we are going and 
here to begin with, we are off by ourselves. I wonder 
what the others are going to do this afternoon? " 

" They were calling me a while ago but I wouldn't 
answer/' said Max with a mischievous smile. " After- 
wards I wished I had because I don't want Uncle to 
think me sulky as well as stuffy. It was kiddish to 
bolt this way but I had to let off steam. Shall we go ? " 

" Yes, I think it is a good chance," assented Char- 
lotte, rising to her feet. " Can't we go down through 
the pines to the road? We sha'n't strike that swamp 
where Mr. Tyler said we must never go, shall we?" 

" No, for the swamp lies off to the east. It will 
only be rough walking." 

" I don't mind that," said Charlotte, vanishing as 
she spoke into the thick pines at the western side of 
the clearing. 

Going through the evergreens was like making their 
way through a green sea, for the young trees had no 
dead branches and were so soft and supple that they 
could easily pass among them, enjoying the touch of 
aromatic needles and boughs. The sun intensified 
their fragrance, filling the air with sweet odors of 
pine. 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 231 

Among the rocks and bushes of the lower pasture 
progress was harder. Charlotte looked askance at a 
flock of meek sheep industriously cropping the short 
grass of the rougher ground, but they offered her no 
violence. Once on the road the climb was uphill with 
a fine view over the lake to the surrounding mountains. 

" There's the canoe and the boat ! They've all gone 
down the lake," Charlotte remarked as they stopped 
to gaze across the water. 

" Molly and Auntie and Uncle in the boat and June 
in the canoe with the girls," said Max, looking down on 
the boats that seemed mere toys in the distance. " I 
say, Carlotta! I ought not to have talked so about 
Hope! I wish I'd held my tongue! I'm ashamed of 
myself ! And it was kiddish not to answer." 

Charlotte smiled. " You didn't say anything very 
dreadful and I'll never speak about it. And if you 
had answered, we shouldn't be calling on Mr. Lemon. 
Here's the path. I'll sit on the wall until you come 
back." 

Charlotte found a comfortable seat and settled her- 
self to watch the progress of the boats far below. The 
sun was already dropping toward the top of Baldface 
and the shadows were long. All around, clumps of 
goldenrod heralded the coming fall. 

Max followed the winding path until he came in 
sight of the cottage. It was just as he had last seen 
it, forlorn, forsaken, with the high grass growing to 



232 WHEN MAX CAME 

its very walls, and that gloomy tombstone against the 
closed door. It seemed not inappropriate as a 
memorial of two wrecked lives. 

He approached slowly, whistling as he went, in or- 
der to warn Mr. Lemon. As he drew near the house, 
the old man looked suspiciously from the door, ready 
to retreat and bar the way if need be, but there seemed 
no cause for apprehension in the appearance of the 
tall, handsome boy. 

" Good afternoon, Mr. Lemon." 

The old man looked at him fixedly, but made no re- 
ply. 

" Some weeks ago, I came down the mountain and 
was caught in a shower. I stopped under your shed 
as perhaps you remember. I lost a little pin that day, 
and I thought it might have fallen in the sawdust. 
You didn't see it, did you? " 

The old man shook his head, never once removing 
his gaze from his visitor. 

" It was of no value, only I was sorry to lose it, for 
it came from France." 

There was no change in the expression of Mr. 
Lemon's face, and Max was disconcerted at the ap- 
parent failure of his trump card, but after a pause a 
harsh voice issued from the dingy beard. 

" You been to France? " 

A bright idea struck Max. " Out, Monsieur 
Lemoine!" 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 233 

At the sound of the French words and the old-time 
pronunciation of his name, the man's features under- 
went a change. They trembled; the fixed expression 
of the eyes altered; and for a fleeting moment, the 
face of young Pierre Lemoine looked from that of 
old Pete Lemon. Max was startled at the brief ap- 
parition, but it vanished in an instant. 

" Ah, you speak the French ! " said the rough, harsh 
voice, clipping and abbreviating words that were them- 
selves uttered in a Canadian patois. Had Max spoken 
the language less readily, he could not have grasped 
the torrent of words that followed. As it was, he 
understood three-quarters and guessed at the rest. 

Charlotte, on the wall, waited patiently while the 
shadows grew still longer and the toy boats on the 
lake turned into black specks and then vanished. Still, 
Max did not come. The shadow of Baldf ace stretched 
farther out on the water; it had nearly reached the 
center. The canoe suddenly reappeared on the west- 
ern side of the lake, and then, some distance behind, 
she saw the boat. 

Charlotte was beginning to feel uneasy when Max 
returned. His cheeks were flushed and his expression 
animated. 

" Did you think I was never coming? " he called. 

" I was afraid that dreadful old man had done 
something to you." 

"Why, Carlotta, he hailed me as a friend and 



234 WHEN MAX CAME 

brother! We've been jabbering French like a couple 
of natives," said Max excitedly as he came from the 
path. 

" You can tell me on the way home," answered 
Charlotte, sliding from the wall. 

" I started in as I planned," began Max as he swung 
into step, " and he caught on when I spoke of France. 
Then it occurred to me to try talking French, and, 
Carlotta, he simply opened up! I believe that all 
these thirty years he's been thinking Canadian- 
French! It was mostly about his early life in Quebec 
and how he hated this place and all that. But, Car- 
lotta, he did say one thing that was odd. In a way, 
it wasn't any queerer than all he was spouting, but 
somehow it struck me as being true. He described 
some forest land in the wilderness beyond the Sague- 
nay river and said that a Monsieur Marshall for 
whom he had acted as guide, bought an estate there 
and gave him the deed of this especial part. He told 
me the exact number of acres it contained and its 
boundaries; how one corner was marked by a big 
beech and another by a boulder, and so on. It was 
something he must have known familiarly some time 
or he couldn't have described it in such detail. And 
it is perfectly possible that some rich man did give it 
to him, if he'd been a satisfactory guide. He said Mr. 
Marshall told him to keep the deed, because some day 
the land would be valuable." 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 235 

" Isn't that interesting ! " Charlotte commented. 
u Do you suppose he has the deed ? Has he ever done 
anything with the property?" 

11 1 asked, but he grew excited and it was hard to 
understand when he talked so indistinctly. As far as 
I could make out, he gave the deed to his wife to keep 
and she has it." 

" How can she when she's been gone all this time? " 
asked the puzzled Charlotte. " I don't imagine she 
knows anything about it. Probably it's round the 
house somewhere." 

" But he evidently thinks she took it. Do you 
know, Carlotta, the story rang true to me. Perhaps 
he really does own some land that has become worth 
ever so much money." 

" Don't deeds get outlawed or something?" Char- 
lotte inquired doubtfully. " Thirty years is a long 
time!" 

" I don't know," Max acknowledged frankly. 
" But when we find Kitty we can ask her all about it. 
I let him talk as long as he liked, because I thought 
it would ease his mind. He didn't show any interest 
when I led up to the French nuns, and I wasn't sure 
I was wise to mention them. But he sat up and 
listened when I spoke of this Mrs. Lemoine in Jersey, 
but still he didn't say anything, even when I told him 
that she had a daughter. I was a bit disappointed at 
that, but finally I explained to him all about Sister 



236 WHEN MAX CAME 

Angelique and her mother. Oh, then he was ex- 
cited!" 

" But, Max, do you think you'd better have told 
him so much? Won't he be terribly disappointed if 
there is any mistake ? " 

" It seems as if it must be true, and he was ever so 
interested. I told him about the letter I wrote. I'm 
not sure that I made him understand everything, for 
he spoke this patois and his voice was odd, so that I 
couldn't catch all he said. But, anyway, he took in 
enough so that when the answer comes, it will be all 
right." 

Charlotte was silent for a moment, not entirely shar- 
ing this expectation. There seemed to her a num- 
ber of opportunities for misunderstanding, but on sec- 
ond thought she kept her doubts to herself. 

" It's very interesting and I hope it will come out 
as we'd like," she said at length. " If it does, Mr. 
Lemon will certainly consider you as his patron saint." 

Max suddenly turned and looked at her. " To be 
sure ! " he exclaimed. " Why, I'd quite forgotten that 
before I came, I promised Dad to behave like a plaster 
saint this summer. How well I've been doing it ! " 

" That's a funny thing to make you promise ! But 
were you doing it this afternoon?" Charlotte added 
saucily. 

" As I recall the promise it was wholly voluntary 
on my part. This afternoon? Now, Carlotta, did 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 237 

you ever meet a graven image with a stiffer backbone 
than I was displaying to both you and Uncle?" 

" Oh, Max ! " remonstrated Charlotte. 

" Once, when I was quite a kiddie," Max 
went on, smiling at her amusement, " I grew ra- 
ther daffy over Francis of Assisi and naturally 
took the good f rate's rules of life quite seriously. So 
one day when I'd gone to the Borghese Gardens with 
Connie and her governess, I wandered away from 
them and met a street gamin about my own age, — 
nine or ten. I proposed to him that we should ex- 
change clothes, a la Fra Francesco! He agreed with 
alacrity and we retired to the shrubbery to complete 
the affair. Presently I saw my white knickers depart- 
ing on his person and was left with but two extremely 
dirty and ragged garments as a sole protection against 
an observant world. Oh, they were impossible, even 
to the muddle-pated kiddie that I was! I hadn't 
realized that, you see. But one really can't promenade 
the streets of Rome with no clothes at all, so I put 
them on at last. I didn't dare show myself to Mrs. 
Ferris but bolted for home. At first the concierge 
didn't recognize me and ordered me out, but when he 
realized who I was, he nearly fainted on the spot. 
When Giovanni beheld me, his eyes stuck out and his 
hair stood on end with pious horror. He burned 
those garments immediately, scrubbed me from top to 
toe with carbolic soap, — and you can bet I howled 



238 WHEN MAX CAME 

with rage, — put me to bed and only awaited Dad's 
arrival before sending for a doctor." 

" What happened then? " Charlotte giggled. " Did 
your father punish you ? " 

" No," Max answered gayly. " When Dad heard 
the story, told as only Giovanni could tell it, he ex- 
ploded with laughter, and that completely finished 
Giovanni. Dad had first to assuage his injured feel- 
ings. Then he hugged me and said he didn't believe 
that to-day it was possible to apply literally the princi- 
ples of conduct laid down by a saint who died some 
hundreds of years ago. He thought even sweet 
Brother Francis might find it necessary to change his 
tactics if he should come back to earth and try to re- 
form the society of the twentieth century ! " 

"Your father must be very nice!" commented 
Charlotte appreciatively but she was also thinking 
that her companion must have been a most lovable 
little boy. 

Max gave her a quick glance. " My dad is with- 
out doubt the best ever! But about the saints, — " 
he continued after a slight pause. " Somehow I was 
rather prejudiced against Francis after that experi- 
ment. I felt that he hadn't proved himself equal to 
the occasion. Then Connie and I found a little 
French story about St. Joseph. He's the saint the 
girls pray to when they want a husband. Wouldn't 
it be interesting to be his plaster image in a church 



MR. LEMON HAS A CALLER 239 

and hear what kind of husbands they asked for?" 
" I think it would be quite an experience ! " Char- 
lotte agreed. 

" Well, in this story the girl made a neuvaine to 
St. Joseph. That is, she prayed for nine consecutive 
days that he would send her a husband. Nothing hap- 
pened. Then she fired his image out of the window 
and hit a man who was passing by on the head and 
knocked him silly. I think, myself, that was the only 
reason he married her, for he did in the end. Not at 
once, of course, but after they'd carried him in un- 
conscious, and she'd practiced the Sister of Mercy act 
on him. There, Carlotta, the boats are just coming. 
I think I'll meet them at the pier with such an en- 
chanting smile that everybody except myself will be 
sorry I was stuffy this afternoon and wouldn't answer 
when they called ! " 



CHAPTER XVII 

IN THE FOG 

SOME days later it chanced that the five young 
people were spending the afternoon on the lake, 
Hope and Anstice in the boat, the others in the 
canoe. This arrangement was not wholly accidental, 
for Max usually held back until he saw what Hope 
intended to do. To-day she chose to go with Anstice, 
thus leaving as companions for Max the two he would 
have chosen. Their plan was to circle the lake and to 
explore all the islands. 

Two of these were large, and one had a sandy 
beach and some big trees among the thick underbrush 
of its interior. Here the boys often spent the night, 
sleeping under a shelter of poles and bark. The spot 
was ideal for camping except that it lacked water. 
Max entertained a theory that somewhere in the vi- 
cinity a spring must exist, and on this especial after- 
noon he wandered away from the others to search for 
one. The length of the island was perhaps half a mile, 
and in his investigations Max strolled to the farther 
end. As he came out near the point, he saw that the 

clouds were shutting down over the mountains. 

240 



IN THE FOG 241 

Only a few miles separated the village from the 
ocean, and sea fogs were not infrequent, but Max 
did not at the time attribute the change to this cause. 
He plunged inland again on his quest and came out to 
the lake only on reaching the extreme point of land. 
To his surprise, in those few moments, the mountains 
had completely disappeared and billows of white mist 
were rolling over the water. Directly ahead were 
June, Charlotte, and Anstice in the boat. 

" Hustle, Max ! " June called on seeing his cousin. 
" The fog is coming in like a race-horse! Hope's 
wandered off somewhere, and we left the canoe for 
you two. Charlotte's afraid Mrs. Walker will worry, 
so we started." 

" You'd better come back and stay until it lifts," 
Max replied. 

" It's clearer ahead," June returned, every dip of 
his oars increasing his distance from the island. 

Max shouted another protest but the boat was swal- 
lowed by the rapidly thickening mist. He made his 
way back through the underbrush, feeling decidedly 
ruffled. He and Hope had already had one skirmish 
that day, and it was becoming harder for Max to ig- 
nore her constant snubs. Just now, he was annoyed 
with himself for having strayed off, with June for not 
waiting until all could start, with Hope for being left 
behind and with the fog that had caused the complica- 
tion. He did not hurry in the least as he sauntered 



242 WHEN MAX CAME 

back to the beach. Hope would be disagreeable any- 
way, and he saw no reason to hasten the unpleas- 
ant moment. Emerging from the hazel bushes, he 
found his cousin standing by the canoe. 

"Where's the boat and the others?" she asked 
abruptly. 

"Charlotte thought her mother might worry, so 
they went ahead. They left the canoe for us." 

Hope gave a sniff of disgust. " They might have 
waited ! " 

Max said nothing and made no move to launch the 
canoe. 

"Well, shall we start?" Hope inquired frostily. 
" There's only the one canoe, so I suppose we shall 
have to take it." 

" You're quite welcome to go by yourself if you 
prefer," Max replied with equal frigidity. 

" I very much prefer it ! " 

With her angry exclamation Hope started for the 
canoe, but her words brought Max to his senses. Be- 
fore his cousin could reach them, he secured both 
paddles. 

" You can't go alone," he said abruptly. " It isn't 
safe. June ought not to have started in this fog. 
You'll have to wait." 

" Max Hamilton, give me one of those paddles ! " 
commanded Hope. 

Max shook his head with equal determination, and 



IN THE FOG 243 

the two angry, unreasonable young people stood on 
either side of the canoe, glaring at each other. 

" Well! " said Hope after a pause, in biting tones of 
scorn. " I'm glad to find out what's the matter with 
you. I knew you were a prig, but now I know you're 
a bully who takes advantage of a girl." 

For a second, Max's gray eyes fairly flashed fire. 
Then he flung the paddles into the canoe. 

" I wish you were a boy ! " he ejaculated. " There ! go 
if you like, but if you do, I shall have to go with you ! " 

" I want to go alone! " said Hope angrily. 

" You can't. I may be a prig and a bully, though 
you are the first person who ever told me so, but I am 
not a fool into the bargain. You know perfectly well 
that you don't know how to steer a canoe." 

" I've paddled stern several times ! " Hope retorted. 

" You may have your choice," Max went on, paying 
no attention to this remark. " The only sensible thing 
is to stay where we are until the fog lifts. If you are 
willing to wait, I will get as far away from you as the 
size of the island will let me. If you insist on going, 
I shall have to go with you." 

"If June can get back through this fog, I can." 

" June happens to have a compass," interrupted her 
cousin. He did not add that the compass in question 
was his own. 

u It can't be hard just to keep going straight even 
if we haven't a compass." 



244 WHEN MAX CAME 

As she spoke, Hope waved her hand vaguely in the 
direction of the cottage and stepped into the canoe, 
taking the stern seat. 

Max looked at her for a second in disgust, realiz- 
ing his complete helplessness before her wilful in- 
sistence. Perhaps it would be better after all to let 
her steer, since then she could not blame him if they 
did not get anywhere, as most certainly they would not. 
He grimly took his seat in the bow and pushed the 
canoe off into the enveloping blanket of fog. Almost 
instantly the island vanished into opaque mist. 

Hope paddled in silence. She could not keep time 
with her cousin's quick, strong strokes and she was 
perfectly incompetent to steer. The canoe wobbled 
from one side to the other, never for one moment keep- 
ing a direct course. It vacillated more than Hope 
realized, for nothing stationary was visible by which 
to gauge their progress. In addition, Max's stronger 
arm was constantly giving the bow a slight inclination 
to the right. Hope exerted all her strength, but since 
she did not know the proper knack of twisting the 
paddle as she took it from the water, the only way in 
which she could influence their course at all was to stop 
paddling entirely and use her blade as a rudder. 

The fog grew denser. Hope's sailor blouse was 
drenched and the moisture dripped from her hair and 
stood in beads on her serge skirt. Max had no coat 
and his shirt was wet and clammy. Max's back in 



IN THE FOG 245 

front of her looked most uncompromising to Hope. 
He always carried himself very erect but just now his 
attitude was rigid. 

" He looks as stiff as a poker! " thought Hope and 
she spoke no word of apology for the unskilful twist 
of her paddle that landed a quantity of cold water be- 
tween her cousin's shoulder blades. 

Max was holding on to his temper with all his 
might and this cold shower suddenly applied to his 
spine did not render the task less difficult. He was 
practically certain that they were traveling in a circle. 
If he only had a chance to steer, they would not waver 
so much and could they once strike the lake shore it 
would be possible to skirt it, were it never so far, until 
they arrived at the familiar pier. But in the manner 
they were progressing they might be out for hours 
without reaching either the shore or an island. If 
any land did loom up, wherever it might be, he would 
make one more effort to induce that pig-headed Hope 
to go ashore and wait until the fog should lift. Ab- 
sorbed in thought, Max failed to notice a sudden, 
slight exclamation from Hope. He did remark that 
her steering grew even more erratic as the canoe slid 
on over oily gray waters, yet seemed all the time to re- 
main in the same place. 

June, with the help of the compass, had easily 
reached the pier, secretly somewhat concerned that the 
canoe had not followed, and that the mist, instead of 



246 WHEN MAX CAME 

passing on, was settling down so densely. His con- 
cern was not lessened by the fact that his father took a 
serious view of the matter. 

" You had the only compass and came off without 
waiting for the others ? June, I thought you had more 
sense than that." 

" It was a fool thing to do/' June acknowledged as 
he stood on the end of the pier. " I'll go back now. 
I can strike the island easily enough by keeping due 
southwest. You come along and steer for me by the 
compass." 

Mr. Ralston agreed, and the boat returned into the 
fog from which it had come. To find the island was 
not difficult, but as they approached, no answer came 
to June's hail and the canoe was not on the beach. 

" They did start," said Mr. Ralston, surveying the 
marks left on the sand. " So my nephew hasn't any 
better judgment than my son." 

June took the reproof in silence. " I'm surprised 
that Max did leave, for he wanted me to come back," 
he said after a pause. 

" They may flounder around on the lake for hours," 
remarked his father. "Of course they are in no 
danger but they'll get wet and it will worry your 
mother. Since they are not here we might as well 
go home. Looking for them in this fog is something 
like hunting for a needle in a haystack." 

June dipped his oars and the sandy point vanished 



IN THE FOG 247 

as if by magic. " I can't understand why they 
started," he again observed. " It isn't like Max, espe- 
cially when he wanted me to wait. I suppose he for- 
got I had his compass." 

" I hate to have your mother troubled. They'll be 
cold and hungry and the experience won't be pleas- 
ant, but aside from that, they can come to no harm. 
June, what's that ? " 

Mr. Ralston's tone had suddenly changed. June 
turned quickly to catch sight of a bit of yellow wood 
floating within reach. Mr. Ralston grasped it and 
held up a paddle ! 

" Ours is the only canoe on the lake ! " he said, his 
face grown suddenly white. 

For a moment the two stared at each other. June 
was first to speak. 

" Father, don't look so ! Perhaps they dropped it, 
perhaps it floated off. Just think what a cracker jack 
swimmer Max is! And Max would bring Hope 
through anything." 

With an effort, Mr. Ralston pulled himself to- 
gether. " Max ! " he shouted through the fog, but 
there was no response. 

"We won't take anything for granted. As you 
say, Max is an expert swimmer and they couldn't have 
capsized in this calm water. Pull slowly around here, 
June, and we'll keep calling." 

Some hours later, after a fruitless circling of the 



248 WHEN MAX CAME 

lake, the boat returned to the pier. Dusk was fast 
falling. 

" We'll have to tell your mother now," said Mr. 
Ralston quietly. " We won't give up hope, but it 
looks pretty serious." 

" I can never forgive myself for going off with that 
compass ! " groaned June. 

" The big mistake was their ever leaving the island," 
said his father consolingly. " The hardest part now, 
is to wait, for wait we must, until the fog lifts." 

There were anxious hearts in the gray cottage that 
evening, but Mr. Tyler scouted the idea that any harm 
had come to Max and Hope and prophesied that the 
fog would disappear about midnight. So it proved, 
for just after eleven the mist grew lighter. 

Provided with wraps and food, June and Mr. Ral- 
ston started in one boat, Mr. Tyler and Ben in an- 
other. Until daylight their search might be useless, 
but it was far easier to be doing something than to wait 
in inactivity for the hours to pass. 

June and his father were silent as they rowed 
through the lifting fog. Little could be distinguished 
on the water, only the blacker outline of the trees 
along the banks. They had reached and passed the 
center of the lake, when Mr. Ralston suddenly stopped 
rowing. 

"June, look quick! Isn't that a light over there? 
Is it in the other boat or on an island ? " 



IN THE FOG 249 

" That's no lantern ! It flickers too much," said 
June after a pause. " Father, I'm sure it's a fire and 
it's on the second island ! " 

June twitched the steering ropes as he spoke and the 
boat began to move for the island with all the impetus 
that Mr. Ralston's strong arms could give to the oars. 
The light increased in size as they approached and 
presently grew into a distinct little fire on the beach. 
Mr. Ralston stopped rowing. 

" June," he said with a break in his voice, " just 
call to them. I can't." 

June put his hands to his mouth and sent a long, 
ringing "Ahoy!" over the lake. After a few sec- 
onds, there came a reply. 

" That's Max's voice ! " he exclaimed. 

" Oh, if Hope is only safe, too ! " gasped Mr. Ral- 
ston. 

" She surely is ! " declared June promptly. " What 
do you take Max for? If they capsized and one of 
them went down, it wouldn't be Hope! And they 
haven't tipped over, for if they had, Max wouldn't 
have any dry matches to light his fire. Father, I 
see Hope now! She passed in front of the 
flames." 

June rose to his feet in excitement. 

" Oh, sit down, son ! " said Mr. Ralston. " Take 
the oars, will you? I don't feel as though I could row 
any more." 



250 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Glad to see us ? " asked June as the boat ap- 
proached the beach. 

" I should say ! " called Max. 

" Nice fright you've given us ! " June went on, re- 
lief at their safety turning to resentment, now the 
anxiety was over. His father sprang on shore and 
hugged both the castaways. 

" Why, Uncle ! Have you been so worried ? " 
asked Max with surprise, for Mr. Ralston's manner 
showed under what an intense strain he had been. 

" Worried ? " repeated his uncle with some in- 
dignation. " We've had good reason ! Your aunt 
is almost distracted. Mr. Tyler and Ben are out in 
the other boat looking for you." 

" But, Uncle," said the astonished Max, " there 
wasn't any danger. What made you think anything 
had happened to us?" 

Mr. Ralston seemed unable to reply and June ex- 
plained the situation. " We found the paddle float- 
ing in the lake, so you can see why we are cruising 
around in this cheerful style. How did you lose it ? " 

" It was dropped overboard," Max replied. " It 
was out of sight in an instant and we couldn't find it." 

"We must start back at once," said Mr. Ralston. 
" Better throw some sand on that fire, boys." 

In a very few minutes the blaze was extinguished 
and the boat started on her homeward way, the canoe 
floating behind at the end of her painter. 



IN THE FOG 251 

" Max," his uncle began gravely, " I am so un- 
speakably thankful to find you both safe that I hesi- 
tate to say much in the way of criticism, but why did 
you leave the first island? The only sensible thing 
was to stay there. By leaving, you missed us when 
we came back, and because we chanced to encounter 
the lost paddle, we have been terribly anxious. 
Wouldn't it have been much wiser to wait where you 
were ? " 

" It certainly was the only thing to do." 

Max's assent was so prompt and was given in so 
nonchalant a fashion that it struck his uncle as be- 
ing impertinent. 

" Your thoughtlessness in the matter has amounted 
to real cruelty as far as your aunt is concerned," he 
said rather sternly. " June made a mistake in going 
off without waiting for the canoe to follow. You 
made a worse one in leaving the island. Why did you 
go? " he again asked, displeased by his nephew's con- 
tinued silence. 

" I have no explanation to offer, Uncle George," 
Max replied icily. " I am quite willing to acknowl- 
edge that I made a mistake, but the mistake I made 
wasn't the one you think it was." 

This speech puzzled Mr. Ralston, but before he 
could speak, Hope suddenly interfered. 

" I was the one who insisted on leaving the island," 
she declared stiffly. 



252 WHEN MAX CAME 

" You ? Why ? " asked her amazed father. 

" Well, I simply didn't choose to stay there ! " Hope 
replied with obstinate dignity. " I've had a perfectly 
horrid time, anyway ! " 

" I imagine Max hasn't had a pleasant time, either ! " 
June retorted. 

" Probably not ! " Hope acknowledged coolly, 
though stung by a remark so plainly indicating where 
June's sympathies lay. " I'm to blame for leaving the 
island and I lost the paddle, but I dropped it only be- 
cause I couldn't hold it any longer, — my wrist hurt 
so much ! " 

" Your wrist ? " inquired her father. " Let me see. 
Why, Hope, you've wrenched it severely. It's badly 
swollen. How did it happen ? " 

" I don't know. I just twisted it somehow." 

" Did you keep on paddling after you hurt it ? " Mr. 
Ralston asked, wrapping the wrist tenderly in his 
moistened handkerchief. 

" Yes," admitted Hope. " I wasn't going to stop \ 
But Max didn't know I hurt myself," she added, no- 
ticing the quick glance Mr. Ralston gave his nephew. 

" Indeed, I didn't ! " said Max suddenly. " I wish 
I had known! Whew! that took pluck! However 
could she have paddled at all with a wrist like that? " 

There was a note of admiration in his voice that 
did not escape Hope. 

" You're a sport, Polly Anne ! " June com- 



IN THE FOG 253 

merited cordially. " Not many girls but would have 
squealed ! " 

" It was plucky, little daughter," agreed Mr. Ral- 
ston, " but both unwise and unnecessary, for Max 
could have managed the canoe alone. But having 
left the island, what happened?" 

" Nothing exciting, Uncle," Max replied in a man- 
ner that was a marked contrast to the way he had an- 
swered his uncle's previous questions. " The fog was 
frightfully thick and I am sure we traveled in circles. 
It was after dark before we struck any land, but then 
we didn't know whether it was an island or the lake 
shore. If it hadn't been so late, I would have kept 
along the edge until I found out which it was, for if 
it was the mainland, we could in time, reach the pier. 
But we couldn't see even from one end of the canoe 
to the other so we landed and built a fire. We were 
wet and cold, and I thought if any one was looking 
for us, it would be a beacon. It never occurred to 
me that you would find the lost paddle or be so anx- 
ious. We were in no danger, for the lake was per- 
fectly smooth and any wind that could come up enough 
to make it rough would blow away the fog." 

As Max concluded, the boat was almost at the pier, 
where Mrs. Ralston welcomed the castaways with 
eager exclamations and embraces. Just as the party 
reached the cottage door, Mr. Ralston felt a detaining 
touch on his arm. 



254 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Uncle George," Max said frankly when they were 
alone, " any way this story is told isn't particularly 
creditable to either Hope or me. If I had kept my 
own temper, probably she wouldn't have wanted to 
leave the island. But we were both angry, and as I 
couldn't prevent her from going, I had to go with her. 
We didn't have a very pleasant time, but that was my 
fault as much as Hope's. I think she was frightfully 
plucky to paddle as she did after hurting her wrist. 
Of course, if I had known that she wrenched it, I'd 
have made her stop — if I could ! " he added. 

Mr. Ralston smiled. His nephew had spoken with 
an engaging frankness that atoned for any previous 
obstinacy. 

" Max," he commented whimsically, " it's difficult 
to stay displeased with you for any length of time! 
I think in the course of your wanderings you must 
have kissed the Blarney stone, for you certainly have 
a persuasive way of putting things. I'll accept with- 
out further inquiry your statement that you're both 
in fault. But I'm not blind to the fact that you and 
Hope don't get along as well together as you and 
June. What's the reason ? " 

" Ask me something easier, Uncle ! " Max replied 
with a smile. " If I were willing to tell you, I couldn't 
because I honestly don't know ! " 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE KRAKEN 

MAX gave considerable thought to his past in- 
terview with Mr. Lemon. More than ever 
he felt convinced that the story of the deed 
and the forest land in the Saguenay wilderness was 
true. The minute details of the description were con- 
vincing. It seemed quite possible that the forlorn 
old hermit might be the actual owner of valuable tim- 
ber. 

" Uncle George," he inquired one afternoon, " is 
there any way for a person to prove ownership in a 
piece of real estate, if he hasn't the documents to 
show?" 

" Max, I'm no lawyer," declared his uncle jokingly. 
" Explain a bit," he added, seeing that his nephew was 
in earnest. 

" Suppose that a man gave a deed to a second man, 
transferring ownership in some land. If the deed was 
lost, could the second man prove his right to the prop- 
erty?" 

"If the deed had ever been recorded, his chances 
would be pretty good," replied Mr. Ralston. " If 

255 



256 WHEN MAX CAME 

there was no record, it would depend upon how clear 
a case he could present. Should the first party to the 
transaction execute a duplicate deed, there would be 
no question." 

" But if the first party was dead or couldn't be 
found?" 

"In that case it would seem a difficult matter; I 
should say an almost impossible one, especially if 
there was any one to oppose the proceeding. Have 
you discovered an air-castle to which you think you 
have a title?" 

Max laughed. " Not exactly, Uncle. I was just 
wondering." 

Max continued to wonder until his cogitations took 
a more definite form. He paid a second visit to the 
hermit. 

" Carlotta," he said that evening, having for a mo- 
ment secured Charlotte's companionship, " I've 
found out a little more about that Mr. Marshall. I 
had another talk with Mr. Lemon. Mr. Marshall 
used to go fishing every year in Canada. He belonged 
to a club and I learned the name of that. And his 
friends called him ' Jim.' So probably he was James 
Marshall." 

" There is a very wealthy man of that name in Bos- 
ton," volunteered Charlotte. 

" Is there ! I told you so ! " Max exclaimed tri- 
umphantly. What Max had told her and why he 



THE KRAKEN 257 

should claim the honor of pinning Mr. Marshall down 
to a definite habitation seemed illogical to Charlotte, 
but she did not interrupt. 

" That settles it ! " Max went on. " I'm going to 
find out!" 

" Are you going to write to Mr. Marshall ? " Char- 
lotte inquired cautiously. She had a growing premoni- 
tion that Max's cheerful facility in writing letters 
might somehow lead to disaster. 

" He probably has hundreds of letters every day 
and wouldn't pay any attention to mine. There is a 
barrister in Boston, — a lawyer, I mean, who attends 
to Dad's business affairs. I'm going to ask him to 
find out if the James Marshall you spoke of is likely 
to be the one Mr. Lemon talks about." 

" Do you think he will do it ? " asked the still skepti- 
cal Charlotte. The way Max took it for granted that 
a busy legal practitioner would attend to his request 
rather surprised her. 

" Of course he will ! I shall tell him who I am. 
Dad pays him for doing things for him and he can 
do them for me, too ! " 

"All right!" Charlotte acquiesced. "It will be 
interesting, but I have a feeling that the deed will have 
to be found." 

" I don't believe Kitty ever took it," said Max medi- 
tatively. " I think, as you said, it is round the house 
somewhere. I'd like to go in and look, but probably 



258 WHEN MAX CAME 

he wouldn't let me. I suppose I can't exactly turn 
things upside down without his permission. 

" I found out another interesting thing, too," Max 
went on, not noticing how amused Charlotte looked 
at the idea of forcibly entering Mr. Lemon's house, 
even on a benevolent errand. " The old chap was 
really quite lucid to-day. He told me that there is a cave 
up on Bald face, not very far up, either, and I'm go- 
ing to hunt for it." 

" Probably there is," said Charlotte. " But there 
are so many ledges that it may be hard to find. Per- 
haps he would show you." 

" He's too feeble for any climbing. Do you know, 
I think it jogs his brain to talk in French. If he had 
to do it in English, he might not say so much nor so 
connectedly. He isn't sane, of course, but I think he's 
more so when he's speaking his native language. He 
doesn't seem so old." 

" I think it's good of you to go and talk with him," 
began Charlotte but just then June hailed them. 

" What do you mean by going off like this when it's 
Mother's last evening here?" he demanded. "Just 
come along quick, both of you! " 

Max felt decidedly depressed the next day when 
Mr. and Mrs. Ralston had actually started for their 
trip north. He had grown extremely fond of Uncle 
George and probably would not see him again. He 



THE KRAKEN 259 

looked veiy sober as the carriage turned the curve and 
the last fluttering handkerchief was lost to view. 

The mid-afternoon sun shone warm on the pines 
and the swaying elms cast flickering trails of light and 
shade on the grassy slope before the cottage. June 
looked irresolutely around him. 

" What shall we do ? We might fish. We can 
take the boat and then Molly can go." 

" Molly hates so to keep still," said Hope. " You 
go, if you like, but I'd rather she would stay here. 
Supper will be ready at six, so don't be late. Mother 
said we could go to the Tylers' if we liked, but I want 
to try housekeeping for a little." 

June and Max sauntered to the lake and launched 
the canoe. Neither the hour nor the weather was fa- 
vorable for fishing so they paddled idly along the 
shore. Max was unusually silent as he steered and 
kept the canoe close in under the shadow of Bald face. 
June made one or two tentative strokes in a different 
direction, but it was difficult to change their course 
when the steersman had other ideas. In fun, June 
made a determined effort to turn the canoe. Max 
saw, and with his own paddle counteracted the at- 
tempt. The next moment a laughing struggle began. 
June was a little the stronger of the two, but Max had 
the advantage of six inches' length in his paddle. The 
canoe began to rock dangerously. 



260 WHEN MAX CAME 

" No, you don't ! " exclaimed Max as June's last 
stroke turned the bow. " Oh, I say ! " 

As he spoke, the canoe capsized and both boys went 
completely under. For a moment, old Bald face 
looked down upon a swamped green canoe, the float- 
ing paddles, and ripples slowly widening over the lake. 
Then two sleek heads reappeared at some distance 
from the floating craft. 

" You ought to be ashamed ! " began June, throw- 
ing water in his cousin's face as they seized the gun- 
wale on either side. 

"Let's postpone this war till we get ashore. Do 
catch that paddle — the other has gone some distance." 

A truce was declared; June rescued the floating bit 
of wood; and they swam and pushed the canoe be- 
fore them into water sufficiently shallow to permit of 
its being emptied. 

" Really, you know," said Max as they climbed in 
and he turned the bow in the direction of the escaped 
paddle ; " I went in so suddenly that I ran into a fish ! 
His tail went right into my mouth ! " 

" Pity you didn't shut it ! " grinned his cousin. ° If 
you'd arisen from the lake with a fish in your teeth 
it would be a tale worth telling. As it is, you have a 
string of eel-grass in your hair. Shall we try it 
again? " 

" Let's wait till we have on our bathing suits. Of 
course we're soaked now, but we'll probably capsize 



THE KRAKEN 261 

again and I'm afraid of injuring my watch. One 
ducking doesn't seem to have hurt it, but two might 
do the business." 

June looked at his own timepiece which was still 
ticking cheerily. 

" That's so ! We'll try it out some morning. 
How beastly wet shoes do feel ! " 

Hope did not see the boys when they returned, for 
she had begun her preparations for supper. Max 
was dressed first, and having dropped his soaked gar- 
ments from the window, went out through the kitchen, 
intending to hang them on the line behind the house. 

The room was full of smoke pouring from every 
crack and crevice of the stove, while Hope was look- 
ing in horror at the yellow-white wreaths that curled 
upward in appalling volume. 

" There's something wrong with the drafts," com- 
mented Max. 

Hope turned a withering glance in his direction. 
" You know so much about everything — why don't 
you fix them, then ? " 

Max started abruptly for the outer door, an angry 
flash lighting his eyes, but the next instant he came 
back to the smoking stove. Slamming in one draft 
with unnecessary violence, he jerked open another; 
the fumes instantly ceased and with a crackle, the fire 
burned merrily. 

Hope was shielding her smarting eyes and when she 



262 WHEN MAX CAME 

again looked about her, the smoke was fast drifting 
through the door that Max had left open behind him, 
and a cheerful roar was coming from the balky stove. 

" Max makes me so tired ! " she thought ungra- 
ciously. " Molly darling, don't you want to help sis- 
ter?" 

Molly was in search of clothespins for her cousin 
and in her endeavor to reach the basket for herself, 
upset them over the floor. 

"Tell Max he can just pick them up!" exclaimed 
Hope as Molly seized a handful and with an impish 
laugh ran into the open air. 

Hope's irritation increased as the minutes passed, 
and the clothespins were scattered far and wide as 
she crossed the kitchen floor in her various journey- 
ings from pantry to closet. At last, attracted by peals 
of laughter from her little sister, she looked out. Max 
had rolled Molly tightly in the hammock and was 
swinging her. 

" Max, I want Molly to come directly in. And I 
shall not touch a single one of these clothespins ! She 
spilled them because you sent her for them." 

" We don't mind picking up clothespins, do we, 
Molly, as long as it isn't a spilled temper? " muttered 
Max. " Come on, let's play they are kitties, little 
furry kitties. See whether you can catch more than I 
do!" 

Molly entered into the game with a shriek of de- 



THE KRAKEN 263 

light, the rough kitchen floor transformed for her 
into a charming fairyland peopled with pussies of vari- 
ous colors, all soft and friendly. Never had wilful 
Molly so promptly collected her scattered toys. 

Hope was not satisfied to have the simple supper 
that Mrs. Ralston had served all summer, and the table 
was spread according to her own ideas. The salad 
looked tempting, and was prettily decorated with 
ferns. On either side were a plate of hot biscuits and 
a dish of lemon jelly with whipped cream. 

" This sure is a feast ! " commented June as he 
whisked Molly into her high chair. 

Hope herself was feeling in a better humor, for 
the biscuits had risen beautifully. While June served 
the salad, she was occupied in preparing Molly's bread 
and milk, and was really startled when her brother, 
with a spluttered choke, suddenly rose and rushed 
from the room. 

Max had been unusually sober and he had not 
tasted the salad. He took a mouthful and abruptly 
followed June. Molly, thinking this was some new 
game, arose in her chair and wished to join in the fas- 
cinating pursuit. Outside, Hope could hear the boys 
laughing and vigorously pumping water. She tasted 
the salad that looked so delicious, and dropped her 
fork in horror. Why — oh, why, when she filled 
the lamps, had she neglected to wipe up the oil that 
ran over the dresser? She had completely forgotten 



264 WHEN MAX CAME 

it, and had been unlucky enough to lay the lettuce in 
that very spot! , 

When the boys returned, unnaturally grave, no 
trace of the unpalatable salad was to be seen, and 
only clean, empty plates awaited them. Hope, with 
a red spot on either cheek, was patiently attending to 
Molly's supper. 

The best way out of the situation was a laugh, but 
Max did not feel merry, and June, knowing his sis- 
ter's uncertain temper, did not dare to joke. They 
sat down and sampled the biscuits which were an un- 
doubted credit to the cook. Biscuits and blueberries 
were not substantial food for two hungry boys and 
presently June ventured a remark. 

" Have you any objection to my opening a tin and 
slicing a couple of sardines? " 

Hope with an effort kept her temper under control. 

" Open what you like, but it's mean to make fun 
of me!" 

" We haven't ! " protested her brother as he went to 
investigate the supply of canned goods. At this point, 
Molly refused to take another mouthful from her sis- 
ter's hand and demanded that Max should feed her. 
In Hope's over-sensitive condition, this seemed an 
added insult, and feeling that she could no longer sup- 
press the threatening explosion, she left the table. 

" Come here then, you little wretch ! " growled Max, 



THE KRAKEN 265 

jerking Molly's high chair nearer him and stuffing a 
tremendous spoonful of bread and milk into the red 
mouth she held so invitingly open. Molly merely 
wriggled with joy, for though her cousin's words were 
abrupt, his touch and tone were gentle. 

"., Why can't you feed yourself, and not put your 
foot in it every time you open your mouth? " 

Molly regarded him with thoughtful eyes and then 
looked inquiringly at her sandal. 

11 Too dusty," she explained, and Max was obliged 
to laugh. 

" All the same, Molly, you get your own way more 
than any kiddie I ever knew! " 

June returned with a tin of tongue and some cot- 
tage cheese he had found in the refrigerator. 

" I saw Mother making this, so I guess it isn't fla- 
vored with kerosene ! " he commented in a cautious 
whisper. 

Hope, in her room, recovered from the mortification 
caused by the salad, but she still nursed the injury in- 
flicted by wilful Molly. In her absence the boys talked 
more freely, and presently there came an explosion of 
laughter. After puzzling over its cause for some mo- 
ments, she went out. 

The laughter ceased with her appearance. The boys 
were eating lemon jelly and she saw nothing to ex- 
plain their mirth. Molly, like the coquette she was, 



266 WHEN MAX CAME 

instantly abandoned Max and returned to her sister. 
Somewhat comforted, Hope patted the dear curly 
head, and sat down beside her. 

" Don't you want some of the nice jelly with the 
cream, darling? You know you like cream. " 

Molly didn't like that cream and said so emphati- 
cally. Hope caught a suppressed chuckle from her 
brother and her suspicions were aroused. 

" Hope, do laugh ! " remonstrated June a second 
later. " What's the use of being grouchy? Why don't 
you see the fun of it?" 

" It doesn't strike me as being funny ! " Hope an- 
swered, " but what is it, anyway? " 

" We haven't finished guessing. It is neither salt 
nor saleratus. It may be flour." 

" It was in a jar and Mother said it was pulverized 
sugar ! I used it to sweeten the cream." 

"If she said that, she spoke rashly!" commented 
June cheerfully. " What is it, Hope? " 

" I don't know. It doesn't taste like anything I 
ever ate before." 

" Well, show us the jar you got it from. If it's 
poison, I want to know the cause of my death." 

The jar was unlabeled and contained a fine white 
powder. 

" Corn starch ? " suggested Max. 

" Guess again ! I know corn starch when I taste 
it." 



THE KRAKEN 267 

"It's cream of tartar!" declared Hope, smiling at 
last. 

" I breathe once more ! " sighed her brother. " I 
was about to pronounce it plaster of Paris. Cheer up, 
Polly Anne; your biscuits were perfect skyrockets! 
Cream of tartar won't hurt any one and I'm going to 
start in again. Molly will eat it if you put some sugar 
on it." 

" I don't want her to ; it may not agree with her." 

June looked relieved at the tone in which Hope 
spoke and the supper ended in peace. 

" It is a dandy evening! " he exclaimed when they 
had dutifully helped with the dishes. " Let's get the 
girls and all go on the lake. Can't Molly come 
along?" 

" She must go to bed," replied Hope, hanging up 
the last dish towel. " I wouldn't dare go off and leave 
her in the house. I really don't mind staying with her." 

"Why can't she come, too? " 

" Oh, she mustn't ! Mother is so particular about 
her being in bed early." 

June was sorry, for he wished Hope to be of the 
party, but it was true that Molly's bed hour ought not 
to be changed, so he and Max started up the road to 
the Tylers'. After a moment, June slid an arm 
around his cousin's neck. 

" Don't you feel well, old chap ? You seem blue. 
You don't really mind Hope, do you ? " 



268 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Oh — not much ! I was so sorry to have Uncle 
George go. I shall not see him again, and I was just 
wondering whether I'm going to spend all my life 
meeting people whom I like tremendously and then 
having to say good-by to them." 

Max's tone was sober and he looked depressed. 

" You'd better stay with us and go to school with 
me this winter. I wish you would! Father and 
Mother would be so delighted to have you — won't 
Uncle Rod let you if you ask him? " 

" Perhaps he would, but — I couldn't, June ! He 
hasn't any one but me, you know. When I go to col- 
lege we shall be separated, and till then I want to stay 
with him." 

"If it wasn't that we shall go to Yale together, I 
would move heaven and earth to have you stay," de- 
clared June emphatically. " But Uncle Rod won't be 
in Rome until Christmas ; you might stay through the 
fall." 

Max shook his head. " I'd have a sweet time trying 
to catch up in school. I was out all last year, you 
know. St. George thought me lazy before that, and 
I'm afraid I'm worse than ever after all this vacation. 
I see a strenuous winter ahead of me, for I know I 
shall hate to study. Still, I must go back." 

" What will you do alone till Uncle Rod comes? " 

" We never give up our apartment ; it will be ready 
for me if I like, but I dare say I shall stay with the 



THE KRAKEN 269 

Thornleys or with the Lisles if they are back so early. 
There are stacks of friendly people and I shall have 
more invitations than I can possibly accept. Then I 
shall be fearfully busy, so Dad and Christmas will ar- 
rive almost before I know it." 

Max spoke more cheerfully and as he finished, they 
reached the big, old-fashioned farmhouse where the 
Walkers were boarding. Charlotte sat on the front 
porch reading to her mother, while Anstice was play- 
ing in the yard with Mr. Tyler's collie. 

Prince rushed joyfully to meet the boys and jumped 
around them, recognizing good comrades, while 
Anstice hailed their arrival with pleasure. 

Charlotte hesitated a little when the plan of rowing 
on the lake was proposed, but Mrs. Walker told her 
to go. 

" It will soon be too cool to stay out and I have a 
letter to write. We will finish the story to-morrow. 
Be sure to take your sweaters and don't stay later 
than nine." 

When they reached the lake the canoe seemed more 
attractive than the boat, for paddling was much more 
fun than rowing, and none of them was heavy and the 
water was not very rough. 

The girls sat in the bottom and June took the stern 
paddle. The sunset sky behind Bald face was radiant 
and a little wisp of a moon was tilted above the moun- 
tain. 



270 WHEN MAX CAME 

" There's the new moon ! " exclaimed Anstice. 
■" Which shoulder should you see it over? " 

" The right," Max replied, " but what luck shall I 
have? I saw it first with my front face ! " 

" That should be best of all ! " decided Charlotte. 
" Oh, look at Baldface! Isn't it lovely to have a lace- 
edged mountain ? " 

The row of trees along the crown was silhouetted 
against the sunset like fine lace stretching the entire 
length of the long ridge. Nan regarded it medita- 
tively. 

" Baldface looks alive to-night. I shouldn't won- 
der if he was getting ready to turn over." 

" Let's hope he waits till we are off the lake," 
laughed June. " I wouldn't give much for our chances 
if Baldface flops into it while we're here!" 

As the sunset glow faded, the moon grew brighter. 
They skirted the base of the mountain, paddling softly 
and hearing interesting noises from the woods. Far 
in the distance a lost lamb kept crying mournfully and 
the reiterated sound seemed to disturb Charlotte. 

" Poor little thing ! I suppose he's lonesome and 
wants his mother." 

" It's good for him ; it exercises his lungs," replied 
the unsympathetic June. 

They passed Mystery Point and entered the deeper 
shadow of another hill. Suddenly Max stopped pad- 
dling and looked intently before him. 



THE KRAKEN 271 

"What is it?" inquired his cousin. " Breakers 
ahead?" 

" I don't know. There's a queer thing just off the 
bow." 

Charlotte and Anstice craned their necks and the 
next moment both they and June caught sight of a 
singular object. It was quite large and was moving 
with apparent rapidity. Still, the water itself was so 
rough that it was difficult to judge how much of its 
motion might be due to the waves. 

The object was white with dark spots at intervals, 
and as the canoe approached, presented a rather threat- 
ening appearance. The little moon did not throw suf- 
ficient light through the thickening dusk to give it any 
definite form. 

" Nan, I reckon that's your kraken ! " said June 
laughingly. 

The next instant June wished he had not spoken, for 
Anstice gave a scream. 

" Oh, it's coming for us ! It's coming straight at 
us!" 

" Nan, sit down!" shouted June. " You'll have us 
all in the lake ! " 

" Nan, keep still ! " warned Charlotte. " But — oh, 
don't go any nearer! It does look so dreadful!" 

The boys obediently turned the canoe away, and al- 
most instantly lost sight of the singular object. 

" It's queer what that could be," said Max. " It 



272 WHEN MAX CAME 

looked as much like a drowned red and white spotted 
calf as anything.'' 

" It was alive ! I know it was ! " declared Anstice, 
who was still much frightened. 

" Would you girls be afraid to be landed on the 
point while we go back and see what it is ? " asked 
June. " I hate not to find out." 

The point was bright with sand and moonlight, and 
the girls consented to be left there. 

" I'm ashamed to be scared," admitted Charlotte as 
she stepped ashore, " but it did look so dreadful ! " 

Charlotte and Anstice sat down on the beach and the 
canoe shot off into the dusk. They could see its out- 
lines quite distinctly and note its progress, at first 
rapid, and then slowing cautiously as it approached 
the scene of their late fright. For an instant it 
paused, rocked by the waves, and then to the ears 
of the listening girls came a peal of laughter. Away 
on the other side of the lake, Blueberry flung back the 
mirth from its echoing rocks. The boys w r ere still 
laughing when the bow of the canoe again grated on 
the sand. 

" What was it ? " demanded Anstice eagerly. 

" We want you to see. You needn't be afraid. It 
won't hurt you." 

In spite of this assurance, the object looked very 
formidable as they drew near for the second time and 
the closer they came, the harder it was not to believe 



THE KRAKEN 273 

it a living thing. Anstice was clutching Charlotte 
tightly, for it seemed as if the creature, whatever it 
might be, was swimming rapidly toward them with 
the purpose of getting aboard. 

" Oh, I don't want to see it ! " she exclaimed. " Do 
tell us what it is and don't go any nearer ! " 

The canoe was now only a length away, and Max, 
reaching forward, struck the object with his paddle. 
A dull reverberation followed. 

" Ah, I see ! " gasped Charlotte. " But how can 
it look so queer ? " 

" It's an odd shape anyway, and being a birch log, 
the bark has peeled off and left that red and white 
spotted effect," explained Max. " That gnarled place 
looks like a head and the motion of the water makes 
it appear to be swimming." 

" I'm so glad you went back to see what it was ! 
We should have thought of it all night if you hadn't." 

" You'd better believe Max and I were going to see 
what was the nature of the beast before we sought our 
downy pillows ! " laughed June as the canoe started 
again on its interrupted circuit of the lake. 

" It's been lovely on the water this evening," said 
Charlotte when they were nearly at the pier. " I shall 
think of it next winter and of the kraken and all." 

" Tell Hope I want her to teach me that crochet 
stitch right after dinner to-morrow. Don't forget, 
please, for it is very important." 



274 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Nan," laughed Charlotte, " you and Hope will see 
each other several times before dinner." 

" I know it, but still they may as well remember to 
tell her," replied Anstice stoutly. 



CHAPTER XIX 

"WHERE 13 MOLLY?" 

AS Charlotte prophesied, Anstice saw Hope sev- 
eral times before midday, and had ample op- 
portunity to announce her intention of learn- 
ing the new crochet stitch. 

Things had gone better with Hope that morning. 
Breakfast was prepared without accident except that 
the chocolate was scorched, but as neither boy appeared 
to find it undrinkable, the meal passed pleasantly. 
Later, Molly, in her endeavor to help, tipped a pail of 
cold water over herself and the floor, but since it was 
Molly who did it, Hope patiently swept and mopped 
the flood. 

Anstice came directly after dinner and the two estab- 
lished themselves on the shady porch where they were 
soon deep in the mysteries of chain one, skip two, and 
other intricacies of a crochet pattern. 

An hour later Hope suddenly realized that Molly 
had not been in evidence for some time. Usually the 
little sister was hanging around the older girls, teas- 
ing to share in their employment and being put of! 
with loving words and kisses. 

275 



276 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Where is Molly? " she exclaimed. 

"Isn't she with the boys?" asked Anstice. "She 
went down the steps a long time ago and said she was 
going to Max." 

" Then she'll be in a dreadful state, for he always 
lets her do whatever she likes, and I dressed her up this 
afternoon. I was so tired of her rompers that I put 
on that little white dress which makes her look like a 
baby angel." 

Hope dropped her work and went around the house. 
Her cousin was reading in the hammock under the 
birches, but there w r as no sign of the little sister. 

"Max, where's Molly?" 

" I haven't seen her." 

" She said she was coming to you, and I supposed 
you'd look out for her," commented Hope impa- 
tiently. 

Max flushed indignantly as he rose from the ham- 
mock. 

" Molly didn't come to me ; I should have taken 
care of her if she had." 

" If she's lost, it's your fault! " retorted Hope, an- 
noyed by the stiff dignity of her cousin's tone. 

Max threw his book into the hammock and without 
reply, started toward the lake. Molly was doubtless 
with June or playing by herself on the fascinating and 
forbidden pier. The water for a long distance was 



"WHERE IS MOLLY?" 277 

very shallow and if she tumbled in, nothing worse 
than a wetting could befall her. 

It was a warm day for Maine, and partly on that 
account, partly because like Hope, he was tired of 
camp garments, Max had put on a white flannel suit. 
It w&s extremely becoming, and his annoyance with 
his cousin had sent a flush of color into his tanned 
cheeks. He sauntered down to the boat house where 
June was sandpapering one of the paddles. 

"What do you take us for?" inquired June, 
scrutinizing him from head to foot. " Are you go- 
ing to be married or are you trying to astonish the 
natives? Those togs are very swell, but we're not 
used to such grandeur. If it is your wedding day, you 
might have told me in time to sport my own glad rags." 

Max smiled and knocked a chip into the water with 
the toe of his white canvas shoe. He did not take his 
hands from his pockets. 

"Has Molly been down here?" he inquired after 
a lazy survey of the placid lake. 

"Not she. Has she bolted?" 

" It seems so. Hope doesn't know where she is." 

" She's probably gone to the Tylers' to find Char- 
lotte." 

" I'll go down and see," said Max, turning back, 
quite willing on his own account to seek Charlotte's 
company. 



278 WHEN MAX CAME 

June scraped away at the paddle for some moments 
longer, until Hope came flying down the path. 

" June, we can't find Molly anywhere ! She isn't at 
the Tylers', and Charlotte hasn't seen her, and Nan 
and I have looked all around the cottage and the 
grove." 

" She hasn't been here. Little wretch, she ought to 
be walloped ! " grumbled June. " Did you look in 
the barn?" 

" Everywhere ! And one of the kittens is missing ; 
she must have taken it with her." 

June laid aside the paddle and rose to his feet. 

" We'll soon get her. She ought to be spanked and 
if I find her, I'm going to do it." 

Hope paid no attention to this remark, knowing 
that her brother would never carry out his threat. 
She had heard him plead more than once in naughty 
Molly's behalf. 

June was not especially concerned as he left his task, 
but after half an hour's search vigorously conducted by 
all five young people, matters began to look serious. 
The immediate neighborhood had been thoroughly gone 
over, and no trace of the child was found. 

Max and Charlotte started for the village, Char- 
lotte taking the short cut, and Max the longer way by 
the road, while June and Hope went in the opposite 
direction, each following a roadway to an isolated 
farm, and Anstice searched the half-obliterated cart- 



"WHERE IS MOLLY?" 279 

path leading through the woods to a point on the 
lake. 

An hour later, both Hope and Anstice were crying, 
and June was looking pale and concerned. Had a 
balloon suddenly carried Molly away, she could have 
disappeared no more completely. Anstice went to ask 
her mother's advice, and presently they heard the 
sound of the big horn that summoned Mr. Tyler and 
the hired man to dinner. Its blast at that unusual 
time would show them at once that something serious 
had happened and they would stop work immediately. 

Charlotte and Max returned, having canvassed the 
village. 7 ' 1 y had not visited any of the houses 
where it was just possible she might have taken it into 
her curly head to go, nor had any one seen her. It 
was quite plain that she had not wandered in that 
direction, for she could scarcely escape notice by some 
one. 

June ran down again to the lake. How could Molly 
have come there when he had himself been on the pier 
all the afternoon? The sunny, placid water, reflect- 
ing the fleecy clouds, could have no dreadful secret 
to give up. 

By this time, Hope was terribly frightened, and 
was clinging to her brother and sobbing when Mr. 
Tyler and Ben arrived. 

" Now, Hope, we'll find her," said the kindly farmer 
when he had heard the tale. " It stands to reason she 



280 WHEN MAX CAME 

can't be far. June, you go through the grove again; 
and Max, take the path round the swamp, and Ben 
and I'll tackle the pasture and the woodlot. You girls 
go where you please, only cover as much ground as 
you can. Keep calling all the time. She may be 
asleep under some bush and be passed right by." 

Charlotte and Anstice lingered a moment to pet 
Hope, who was crying on Mrs. Tyler's shoulder. 

" We'll find her," soothed the tender-hearted woman. 
" Father says if they don't get her this time, he'll ring 
the meeting-house bell to call out the village. Cheer 
up, Hope ! There isn't a man who won't turn out to 
hunt for Molly." 

The three girls spent another hour in anxious 
search, and then wandered sadly back to the cottage. 
Mrs. Walker had come to see if she could be of any 
comfort or assistance, and Hope knelt on the floor 
with her head in Mrs. Walker's lap, while Charlotte 
and Anstice, with tear-stained faces, were huddled 
close in silent sympathy. The sun was gone now and 
the twilight was deepening. 

" My Molly, my own Molly ! " sobbed poor Hope. 
" Mamma trusted me with her and I forgot her the 
very first day ! " 

"Oh, Hope darling," said Mrs. Walker, "don't 
blame yourself! I don't think it was your fault; no 
one—" 

She stopped suddenly, for through the gathering 



"WHERE IS MOLLY? " 281 

darkness came the deep sound of the church bell, not 
ringing for service now, but calling all within hearing 
to come and search for Molly. 

The sound terrified the girls, but Mrs. Tyler, seated 
by the window, spoke cheerily. 

" There, Father's roused the village ! Now, she'll 
soon be found! Just as quick as the men can get 
their lanterns, there'll be fifty or seventy-five out. I'll 
build a fire, and heat some water so we can give her a 
hot bath as soon as they bring her in." 

" It's growing cold, and she had only that thin lit- 
tle white dress — it wasn't half so warm as her romp- 
ers," choked Hope. "Oh, what will Mother say! 
Oughtn't we to telegraph ? " 

" No, dear, certainly not yet," said Mrs. Walker 
decidedly. " It would only make a bad matter worse." 

The long minutes passed and the anxious group of 
watchers in the cottage saw lights flickering through 
the trees and down the road. The search party was 
being organized. Lanterns flashed here and there, and 
orders were shouted from one to another. 

"Where's Max?" exclaimed Anstice. "He went 
to search the swamp road and, Mamma, he didn't come 
back!" 

"That's so!" said Mrs. Tyler suddenly. "He 
didn't turn up when Father and Ben and June came 
back ! And Father told him just to follow the cartpath 
through to Bolton's pasture. I'll speak to Father 



282 WHEN MAX CAME 

about it. The Lord help us if either Max or Molly- 
has got into the brier swamp ! " she added in a low 
tone to herself as she went hastily out to meet the 
approaching men. 

Mr. Tyler seemed to think Max's non-appearance 
of some importance, and after a moment's conference 
among themselves, half the party spread out to search 
the woods, and the others, with Mr. Tyler and June, 
turned toward the swamp. 

" Why do they take guns ? " asked Anstice, terrified 
by the sight of firearms. 

" So as to let one another know when she's found," 
reassured Mrs. Tyler. " The man who finds her will 
fire a shot as a signal to the rest. Land, no ! There's 
no animal that could hurt her ! " 



CHAPTER XX 

THE BRIER SWAMP 

MAX had followed the swamp road, looking 
anxiously on either side for traces of the run- 
away, and constantly calling his little cousin's 
name. He had forgotten Hope's unkindness — noth- 
ing mattered before the dreadful fact that Molly could 
not be found. 

The sun was fast approaching the top of Baldface 
and the shadows w T ere lengthening. Max could not 
endure the thought of baby Molly, out alone — no one 
knew where, — and night coming so fast. 

The path he was following led around a swamp 
to pastures beyond. Mr. Tyler had early warned all 
the young people never to try to penetrate the tangle 
that stretched eastward from the trail, saying briefly 
that it w r as a dangerous spot, though he had not stated 
definitely just why it was to be avoided. 

Max saw no sign of the little girl, but suddenly a 
small animal bounded from the sweet fern edging the 
path, and with a mew of recognition, rubbed against 
his ankle. It was Linnikin! 

" Oh, kitten, kitten ! " said Max, picking it up. 

283 



284 WHEN MAX CAME 

" How I wish God would make a miracle happen and 
let you tell me where Molly is! Molly! Molly! " he 
called. 

There was no answer, but the kitten had been miss- 
ing with the baby, and petted Linnikin would never 
voluntarily be found down the swamp road. It was 
the first clue to Molly's whereabouts, and Max left 
the path on the side from which the kitten had come, 
and approached the edge of the swamp. It was thickly 
grown, and though he did not know it, was a dense 
tangle of cruel " devil-brier." 

Max patroled its edge, still holding the contented 
kitten, and calling his little cousin. Was he mistaken ? 
Was there not a reply? " 

" Molly ! Molly Cottontail ! " he shouted, using her 
father's pet name for his baby. A cry certainly 
greeted him. 

"It's Max, Molly. Where are you, darling?" 

" Here ! " came Molly's faint little voice. " I can't 
det out ! " she sobbed. 

This time the reply was distinct. Max dropped the 
kitten and plunged into the swamp. He forced his 
way through its thick growth toward the sound of 
Molly's voice, but thirty feet in, was brought to a 
stand by a thicket of devil-brier. It seemed impene- 
trable and his hands were badly scratched as he at- 
tempted to pass its barrier. 

" I must get exactly opposite Molly and then go 



THE BRIER SWAMP 285 

in," he thought. This was not easy to accomplish, 
for the child was too little to understand the impor- 
tance of her replies as a means of guidance. Worn out 
with her struggles and comforted by the sound of her 
cousin's voice, she was inclined to relapse into silence. 
Max coaxed and persuaded her to answer until he 
reached the spot where her voice seemed nearest. 

"Molly, how did you ever get in there?" he ex- 
claimed as he faced the cruel thorny creepers that 
barred the way. 

" I went to det kitty," replied tearful Molly. 

" She must have crawled ! " thought Max. Such 
progress was out of the question for him, and setting 
his teeth, he broke through the matted vines. It was 
a desperately hard task; they scratched his face and 
hands, clung to his clothes, twisted around arms and 
legs and made every foot of ground a genuine battle- 
field. 

Max gave no thought to himself ; he struggled on, 
and at last came within sight of Molly's dress through 
the gathering darkness of the swamp. It was far 
from being a white dress now; indeed, there was not 
much left of it, but it was a glimmer of light to guide 
him. 

" Molly darling, can't you come to cousin Max ? " 
he gasped when he was within three yards of the 
child and his last exertions had left him breathless. 

"Tan't," choked Molly, "bad bush won't let go!" 



286 WHEN MAX CAME 

Max grimly fought his way on, and finally came 
within reach of the baby. Poor Molly! She was 
fast by the curls to a tangle of brier. With a sob 
of relief she stretched appealing little hands to her 
cousin. 

" Poor, darling Molly ! " said Max, kneeling in the 
swamp beside her and trying to untangle the curls, 
while Molly put cold chubby arms around his neck. 
Her dress had been torn almost from her; she had 
lost both sandals, and the brier had scratched her 
cheeks and shoulder. Still, it was a mystery how she 
could have penetrated so far into the tangle and re- 
ceived so little injury. The cruel thorns were less 
numerous near the ground, and her crawling with the 
kitten seemed to have saved her from serious harm. 

Max could not disengage the curls and he did not 
dare delay. Had he known the dreadful creeper that 
gave the swamp so evil a name, he would have gone 
for help before ever entering it. There was little 
daylight left and he needed it for the journey back. 
He took his knife from his pocket, opened the tiny 
scissors it contained, and cut the entangled hair. 

" I don't know what Aunt Helen will think, but 
it's the only way," he said half-aloud. 

Molly clung to him in absolute relief and comfort, 
and Max kissed the little bare, scratched shoulder. 
Then he took off his torn flannel coat, wrapped Molly 



THE BRIER SWAMP 287 

carefully in it, head and all, took her in his arms and 
started to force his way from the swamp, retracing 
as far as possible his steps. 

The creepers seemed to have closed upon his path. 
Max was already tired, and he was facing a task that 
would have tried the strength of a grown man. Molly 
was surprisingly meek, however, consented to have 
her head wrapped, and only cried out once when a 
thorn caught her foot. 

"Oh, Molly, we must be brave!" said poor Max. 
" Indeed, I'm trying not to let the thorns hurt you. 
Curl your feet up and stay just as close to me as you 
can. 

The desperation in his voice penetrated even Molly's 
child consciousness. 

" Molly will be brave," she sobbed, " but she wants 
her mamma ! " 

Coming into the swamp seemed play to the getting 
out. More than once Max feared that he as well as 
Molly was doomed to a night among the briers. 

" Anyway," he thought, " if we do have to stop till 
they find us, she will neither freeze nor be scared to 
death." 

The mosquitoes were almost as bad as the brier and 
Max could ill defend himself from either. Foot by 
foot he struggled on, not daring to pause, lest he 
should lose the only compass he had, — the glow in 



288 WHEN MAX CAME 

the western sky. When that was gone, he would not 
dare move for fear of going in the wrong direction 
and involving himself still deeper in the tangle. 

It seemed hours before he reached at last the fringe 
of shrubs and underbrush that was free from the 
devil-brier, and a few rods more brought him to the 
open swamp road. The frogs were peeping merrily 
as they did every evening, and a whippoorwill was 
calling in the distance, while here and there bats were 
flitting. 

Too exhausted for further effort, Max sat down on 
a stone, clasping his burden tightly. He felt a soft 
touch and looked around to see the purring kitten 
which had patiently waited his reappearance. Molly, 
safely wrapped in his coat, was asleep against .his 
shoulder. 

Not more than five minutes elapsed after he 
emerged from the swamp before lights appeared down 
the road. Max heard the voices and tried to call, 
but something seemed to be the matter with his throat ; 
he could scarcely whisper. With difficulty he rose to 
his feet and pluckily started toward the search party. 

June and Mr. Tyler were in the lead and they saw 
him before Max, blinded by the lanterns, recognized 
them. June was fairly choking as he took the pre- 
cious little sister, whom Max gave over gladly, drop- 
ping his weary arms in relief. 




Foot by foot he struggled on, not daring to pause. — Page 287. 



THE BRIER SWAMP 289 

" How did she ever get into the swamp? " demanded 
Mr. Tyler. " Good land ! Max, you've been through 
the devil-brier ! " 

His exclamation was drowned in a murmur of sur- 
prise and sympathy from the men who crowded up. 
Max, in his white trousers, shirt and thin under-flan- 
nels, had been quite unprotected from the dreaded 
creeper. His garments had been badly torn and in 
places were wet and red. His hair, too, was matted 
with perspiration and his face streaked with scratches. 

" I must look a sight ! " he began in his usual cheer- 
ful manner, but Mr. Tyler suddenly put his own coat 
around his shoulders. 

" Here, Jem, and you, Charlie — you're husky fel- 
lows ! This boy doesn't take another step to-night ! 
Sam, fire your gun." 

The anxious group in the cottage heard the shot and 
started up. There came another — and yet another ! 

" Praise the Lord! " exclaimed Mrs. Tyler. " She's 
found, and she's alive and she's not hurt! That's 
what the three shots are for ! Hope, don't you want 
to fix her supper yourself? I'll get the bath ready 
to pop her right into." 

It was not long before the lanterns appeared down 
the road, casting flickering lights on the surrounding 
fields and trees. There were so many that the ad- 
vancing procession could be distinctly seen; June car- 



290 WHEN MAX CAME 

rying Molly and the kitten she had demanded and was 
tightly clutching, and near them a dingy white figure 
sitting erect on the men's shoulders. 

Hope darted out as they approached the cottage and 
snatched Molly from her brother's arms. Such a 
dirty, torn, scratched, mosquito-bitten Molly, with 
three curls jaggedly cut off — but Molly alive and un- 
harmed! Hope hugged her, quite unable to speak or 
to notice any one else. But the next moment she real- 
ized that the crowd of men was cheering, and cheering 
for Max. 

" Max found her and he went through the devil- 
brier to get her," said Mrs. Tyler, openly wiping her 
eyes. " Poor boy, Father says he's in an awful state ! 
You take Molly into your room and strip her clothes 
right off, and then you and the girls can bathe her. I 
want to see to Max myself." 

Not until Molly, washed, combed and fed, with her 
bites and scratches lovingly cared for by the three 
girls, had been tucked into her crib to sleep in peace, 
did Hope notice what else was going on. The throb- 
bing of a motor-car before the cottage attracted her 
attention first. 

" June," she demanded, waylaying her brother for 
a moment as she encountered him in the hall, " did they 
send for a doctor? Is Max really hurt? " 

" He's dreadfully scratched," June replied, his 
usually merry face wearing a serious expression. " He 



THE BRIER SWAMP 291 

didn't want them to telephone for the doctor but they 
insisted." 

As June spoke, the door into the boys' room sprung 
its latch and opened a crack. " Now, see here ! " they 
heard Max say ; " I jolly well won't be bandaged like 
a mummy! Doctor dear, you'd not like it yourself, I 
know!" 

At this characteristic protest June gave a convulsive 
snort, but Dr. Leonard apparently remained unmoved. 

" My son," he replied firmly, though in a tone of 
amusement, " you're going to have your shoulder and 
arm and both ankles all bandaged so you may just as 
well make up your mind to it in the beginning. And 
when we've finished that little job, I'm going to put 
some plaster on your face ! " 

" I guess Max has met his match for once! " June 
grinned as the door closed. " But, Hope," he added, 
turning to his sister with a complete change of manner, 
" there's one thing I hope you'll appreciate. Max did 
this for Molly!" 

" You'd have done it, too ! " Hope retorted. 

" Of course I would if I'd been the one who found 
her. But Max did it and he's not so strong as I am, 
and Mr. Tyler says that brier is a tough proposition 
for a vigorous man. Hope, you've treated Max 
meaner than dirt and the reason why gets me! Ever 
since he came, you've been a perfect pill! I haven't 
known what to make of you! I've just one thing to 



292 WHEN MAX CAME 

say now! If after this, you don't right about face, 
I shall honestly think you're possessed ! " 

Hope stood in silence, leaning against the unpainted 
door, her face white under its tawny aureole. June 
seldom laid down the law to her, and when he did 
assert himself it meant something. 

To-night his words tore asunder the veil of self- 
pity and foolish prejudice with which Hope had blinded 
her conscience all summer long. In a sudden flash of 
insight she saw herself as she appeared to her brother 
and doubtless to her cousin. 

" Oh, June ! " she choked, almost stunned by the 
realization, " you never said a truer thing ! I think I 
have been possessed ! " 



CHAPTER XXI 

HOPE CHANGES HER MIND 

MRS. TYLER always rose with the birds to set 
her household affairs in train for the day, 
but on the morning after Molly's escapade, 
she was afoot at an unusually early hour. 

Her arrangements completed, leaving the kitchen 
in charge of her capable assistant, Sally, she started 
up the road to the Ralston cottage. It was nearly 
seven and the sun was high. The men, having 
finished the " chores " around house and barn, had been 
in the fields an hour. 

There seemed no sign of life about the gray house 
under the elms, but a tall boyish figure in a blue bath- 
ing suit was disappearing down the path to the lake. 

" There goes June," thought Mrs. Tyler. " Likely 
Hope will be awake by this time." 

The kitchen door was unfastened and as she stepped 
in, a fretful wail from Molly greeted her ears, with 
Hope's voice trying to soothe the little sister. 

Hope herself looked out as Mrs. Tyler's heavy tread 
crossed the living-room. 

"Well, how's Molly?" Mrs. Tyler asked cheerily. 

293 






294 WHEN MAX CAME 

" And how's Hope?" she added as she noticed the 
girl's heavy eyes. Hope looked as if she had slept 
poorly and cried half the night. 

" I feel rather tired. Molly seems to be all right, 
but oh, she is awfully cross! " 

" She will be fretty to-day; that's to be expected 
with her bites and scratches," said Mrs. Tyler, look- 
ing kindly at sulky Molly, who scowled from her bed 
and refused to be washed and dressed. 

" Now, Hope, when you and June are ready, you go 
right along down to the house and get your breakfast. 
Sally's expecting you. Molly will be all you can man- 
age to-day and you'd better not try any housekeeping. 
Molly, don't you want to be dressed and go down and 
have breakfast with Charlotte and Nan? " 

Molly decided that she did, and at this prospect her 
temper slightly improved. 

" It is ever so kind of you, Mrs. Tyler," said Hope, 
who was combing her own hair. She looked pale and 
its heavy hanging masses accentuated her lack of 
color. 

"I see June's gone to the lake so I'll step into their 
room and see for myself how Max is," said Mrs. 
Tyler, rising to her feet. " When you are ready, 
Hope, just take Molly and go along. I am going to 
cook Max some breakfast here." 

" When you've been in, will you tell me how he 
feels ? " asked Hope a little hesitatingly. She waited 



HOPE CHANGES HER MIND 295 

rather eagerly for Mrs. Tyler's reappearance, listen- 
ing to the heavy footfalls that made the floor in the 
boys' room creak. 

" Max is pretty stiff and sore," reported Mrs, Tyler. 
" I guess he feels worse than he wants to admit, but 
he's a plucky lad. Dr. Leonard made him promise 
to stay in bed till after he came to-day. That was 
clever of the doctor, for he doesn't mean to come till 
late afternoon, but he knew he couldn't keep Max 
where he is in any other way." 

" Is he going to be really ill? " 

Something in Hope's voice troubled kind Mrs. 
Tyler. 

"Land, no, child! He's just scratched and sore. 
He'll be all right by the end of the week, but you see 
he was pretty well played-out struggling through that 
brier and the doctor wanted him to have a good rest. 
Let me fix her hair, Hope; I can't do much for Max 
until June is dressed and out. 

" I remember, years ago," went on Mrs. Tyler, 
touching Molly's curls with cautious hands, " Mr. 
Tyler's brother Jim was visiting us. He was just a 
young fellow, and one Sunday morning he started off 
across lots to the Barrett place. Jim thought consider- 
able of Lydia Barrett so I wasn't surprised when he 
didn't turn up for dinner. I didn't keep mine waiting 
for him any, and after the dishes were done, Father 
harnessed up and we went over the hill a piece to see 



296 WHEN MAX CAME 

old Grandma Clark. It must have been four o'clock 
when we came by the Barrett farm and there sat 
Lydia on the piazza all alone. Father likes his joke, 
so he called out, ' Is Jim going to stay to tea ? ' Lyddy 
looked sort of surprised and said he hadn't been there. 
We thought she was putting it on, but it was true — 
he hadn't set foot on the place. 

" Father was worried then, for he thinks the world 
of Jim, so we went along home at a pretty lively clip, 
wondering all the way what had happened to the lad, 
and considering what 'twas best to do. Well, when 
we reached the house, Jim was sitting in a piazza chair. 
He wasn't exactly sitting, either — it looked like he 
just fell into it. He was white as a ghost and drip- 
ping with sweat and his clothes looked as if he got 
them off a scarecrow! He'd blundered into that 
swamp and lost his sense of direction, and had been 
five mortal hours trying to get out. Big, strong fellow 
that he was, he was just completely tuckered ! It was 
a couple of days before he felt like himself again. 
He didn't get half so badly scratched as Max, but 
then he had the use of both hands, and it was earlier 
in the year when the thorns weren't so well grown. 
But it does beat all how Molly ever got so far in! 
That's more than I can understand and I don't sup- 
pose it'll be explained to us." 

When the three returned from the Tyler house, the 
invalid's room was in spotless order, and Max, sitting 



HOPE CHANGES HER MIND 297 

up in bed, was enjoying his breakfast, though amused 
at his awkward efforts to feed himself with his left 
hand. 

"Hullo, Molly!" he called cheerfully. "Good- 
morning, Hope. Molly, do come here." 

Molly wouldn't ; she did not like cousin Max's looks. 
Cotton, salve and sticking-plaster did not improve his 
countenance, while his right arm, shoulder and hand 
resembled the wrappings of an Egyptian mummy. 

" You fickle little Molly! " said Max. " I'm afraid 
you judge people wholly by personal appearance!" 

" Molly's an ungrateful wretch ! " June declared. 
" Honestly, I think she ought to be taken in hand." 

" Oh, June, don't try to argue with her," expostu- 
lated Hope. u She's perfectly impossible anyway to- 
day!" 

" June," said Mrs. Tyler, " can't you take Molly off 
somewhere and entertain her for an hour or so? 
Hope's been awake with her more or less all night and 
she's tired. Max is settled now for the morning and he 
can read or perhaps Hope will read to him." 

" Hope does look tired," said June. " Come along, 
Molly ; let's go fishing. I'll rig a pole and line for you 
and we'll sit on the pier and fish for a whale." 

June started for the lake with Molly trotting glee- 
fully beside him, perfectly happy at this prospect. 
Mrs. Tyler left for home, after telling Hope to rest 
and take no thought for the remainder of the day. 



298 WHEN MAX CAME 

Max was not as unwilling to stay in bed as Mrs. 
Tyler imagined. He was very tired and his scratches 
were sore and aching. It had not occurred to him that 
Hope would act upon the suggestion of reading aloud 
and he glanced up in surprise as she came in. 

Hope did not look like herself; she was pale, with 
a set, determined expression on her face. To her 
cousin's astonishment, she came straight to his side. 

" Max, I want to tell you how sorry I am that I've 
been so hateful to you. I've been dreadful — and it 
was my Molly! Max, can you ever forgive me?" 

" Oh, Hope! " exclaimed the startled Max, but Hope 
suddenly dropped to her knees and buried her face in 
the side of the bed. 

" Don't say a word till I tell you ! I didn't want 
you to come and I made up my mind that you would 
be horrid. You see June and I have been such chums 
and always before, I've been enough for him in the 
summers. And because you were coming, he made me 
give up a plan I'd set my heart on, and I blamed you 
for that. And I hated so to hear you always talking 
about Connie and what sport she is, as if you liked her 
ever so much ! Only yesterday I said it was your fault 
if Molly was lost and then you went through that 
dreadful brier! Oh, Max, I've spoiled your whole 
summer ! " 

More than once, Max tried to stop his cousin, but 
it was useless and finally he let her say what she would. 



HOPE CHANGES HER MIND 299 

Like most boys, he had an inherent distaste for any 
scene. He wanted no prolonged apology or explana- 
tion. In his opinion a brief " Sorry ! " was all that 
was necessary. 

" I've always been horrid ! " Hope went on. " And 
June made it all the worse because he would give up 
to me for the sake of peace. I sometimes think he 
doesn't know how hard it is for me because he doesn't 
easily get angry himself." 

" Well, I do, Hope, and I know just how hard it is," 
said Max unexpectedly. 

Hope lifted her head and stared at him. " You! " 
she exclaimed. " Why, you're as bad as June ! You 
can't make me believe that you are quick-tempered, 
Max." 

"If you'd known me all my life, you'd believe it! 
Indeed, I used to be * something fierce ' as June says. 
If I've really improved to that extent, Dad and St. 
George haven't labored with me in vain ! " said Max 
quaintly. " Hope," he added, " I fancy the real 
reason you and I haven't hit it off any better is because 
down at the bottom we are a good deal alike." 

Hope continued to look at him in amazement. 
" You are not one bit like me ! " she exclaimed pas- 
sionately. " I've been trying all my life to keep my 
temper and just see w T hat a mess I make of it. You 
never really lose control of yours! " she ended miser- 
ably. 



300 WHEN MAX CAME 

In spite of his intense dislike for the whole situa- 
tion, her despondent tone moved Max to sympathy. 

" I jolly well had to learn to keep my temper, 
Hope ! " he explained frankly. " You see I've lived 
mostly with men, and men who hadn't much time to 
waste over a kiddie who flew into tantrums. When 
I was old enough to realize that my explosions bothered 
my dad, I tried to get hold of myself for his sake. 
He's such a crackerjack, you know! Then, if I blew 
off steam when St. George was around, he used to 
take me by the shoulders and tell me to stop. If I 
said I couldn't, he would remark in the most positive 
manner ; ' Oh, yes, you can, and you will at once ! ' 
Under those circumstances, little Max usually did 
stop!" 

At this graphic word picture, Hope could not sup- 
press an hysterical laugh. 

" After all, it was Uncle Dick who helped me most," 
Max went on thoughtfully. " He had more time. 
Dad was away all the winter that I was ten and I 
stopped with the Lisles. I was forever getting angry 
and then being frightfully sore over it. So Uncle Dick 
and I made a plan to help me learn to keep steady. 
He's been an army officer, you know, and though he's 
lost one arm, he's an expert fencer. The agreement 
was that he was to teach me to fence, but that after 
we once began we were not to stop unless I was fencing 
with perfect self-control, at least outwardly. The 



HOPE CHANGES HER MIND 301 

point of the whole thing was that no fellow can fence 
decently unless he's as cool as a cucumber. Those les- 
sons were mighty strenuous ! I'd get hot and fire my 
foil across the room. Then Uncle Dick would simply 
wait with the utmost courtesy for me to pick it up. 
He never rowed me or pi-jawed me in the least; 
he only waited. Five minutes or an hour was all the 
same to Uncle Dick, but pick it up I had to and begin 
again." 

Max stopped. He had a vivid recollection of the 
tempestuous, curly-headed little lad who sometimes did 
take the full hour. 

" I admire Uncle Dick tremendously," Max con- 
tinued after the pause. " And when a man like 
Colonel Lisle treats a chap as he treated me, why the 
chap's a beastly cad if he doesn't try to come up to it! 
By the end of the winter Uncle Dick couldn't make 
me angry while fencing. He could disarm me and 
make a dozen touches and I could grin and keep steady. 
It was the greatest help you can imagine, and I've al- 
ways loved Uncle Dick for his patience with me over 
that. He sometimes jokes about it now and tells me 
that for a kiddie with brown hair I did have the 
reddest-headed temper he ever knew ! " 

Hope smiled rather tearfully, finding it indeed a 
comfort to know that Max's habitual serenity was not 
wholly a happy gift of nature. 

Max, too, was silent, sincerely wishing the inter- 



302 WHEN MAX CAME 

view at an end. A prisoner in bed, he was helplessly 
at his cousin's mercy. 

" Don't you ever get angry now? " she inquired sud- 
denly. 

" Well, I should say ! " drawled Max in his funny 
English manner. " At times this summer you've 
stirred me up considerably yourself, Hope! But you 
know, I think it's frightfully decent of you to own up 
like this and there's some of the summer still left 
and we're all going to be chums now ! " 

Hope choked and started to her feet, for through 
the open window floated the sound of voices. 

" There's Mrs. Walker and the girls! Oh, I don't 
want to see them ! " 

" Go in your room and lie down and I'll call to 
them that you are feeling poorly and don't want to be 
disturbed/' said Max quickly. " But, Hope, do shake 
hands with me. Sorry it has to be my left one, but 
that's nearer my heart, you know." 

Hope brushed away her tears, returned the cordial 
pressure, and fled to her own room. She heard her 
cousin call in response to Mrs. Walker's greeting and 
then the voices were promptly hushed. 

When she came out after an hour's rest, Charlotte 
and Anstice had gone with June in the boat; Nan 
rowing and patient Charlotte trying to keep Molly still 
and amused. Max was lying against his pillows and 
Mrs. Walker had evidently been reading aloud. As 



HOPE CHANGES HER MIND 303 

Hope entered, both looked up to greet her. Max's 
frank gray eyes had a pleasant smile that brought a 
lump into Hope's throat. She had seen that expres- 
sion many times, but this was the first occasion that it 
had been there for her. 

"Are you feeling less tired, Hope?" asked Mrs. 
Walker, drawing her down for a kiss. " Have you 
been asleep? " 

" No," replied Hope, " but I feel ever so much 
better." 

" I think that doctor puts on too much side ! " Max 
burst out emphatically. " Here he made me give him 
my word of honor to stop in bed until he came. It's 
nearly noon and he hasn't turned up! I believe he 
never intended to come this morning and I call it a 
mean trick ! " 

Mrs. Walker laughed at his belligerent tone. " I 
was just thinking that you'd been very meek and good 
about staying quiet, but it seems that after all it was 
only the peace of a volcano." 

" I'm not keen on stopping in bed. I had four 
months of it last winter and spring. Oh, well, every- 
body was tremendously good to me. The nurses were 
simply dandy and people sent loads of flowers, and Dad 
came every single day. It wasn't half bad, only they 
would never let me know my temperature and most of 
the fun of being ill is knowing how bad you are? 
After I grew better I had the time of my life. Dad 



304 WHEN MAX CAME 

really had the worst of it, for when I was able to take 
account of him again, he had developed twenty-six 
gray hairs. I counted them twice with great care, 
and he said he'd always expected me to be the cause 
of their turning. I fancy I was ! " concluded Max 
merrily. He had meant to cheer Hope, and from her 
expression, was succeeding. 

" There come Molly and the girls. Isn't Molly 
dreadful to-day? I believe she's trying to see how 
naughty she can be! " said Hope, going to meet them. 

Anstice had her hands full of water-liliefahd Char- 
lotte was coaxing rebellious Molly. Both greeted 
Hope affectionately. 

" Aren't the lilies lovely? Did you get them in the 
little bay?" 

" No, in the passage through to the other lake. Is- 
there a dish to put them in ? And isn't Max going to 
get up? We thought we could play games with 
him." 

" Not until after the doctor has been here," said 
Hope, opening the china closet. " There's a dish, 
Nan." 

" Hope ! " exclaimed Charlotte. " I wish you'd give 
Molly a lump of sugar! Really, she's desperately 
cross, and perhaps it will sweeten her disposition." 

Anstice giggled, but Hope took the suggestion seri- 
ously. 

" I'll give her one, but I doubt if it makes her be- 



HOPE CHANGES HER MIND 305 

have any better. There, Molly, it's the biggest one in 
the bowl." 

Molly ate it and promptly demanded another. 

" We might have expected that ! " sighed Hope. 
" It is time to go down for dinner, and then, if Molly 
doesn't mend her manners, I'm going to put her to 
bed. It won't do her any harm and really, she's so 
bad I think she must be sick." 



CHAPTER XXII 

A LOAF OF CAKE 

MAX refused to make any further promises 
about remaining in bed, and the next day, 
with some assistance from his cousin, dressed 
and again presented himself to the world. The 
scratches on his face were much improved and his 
other wounds were less painful, while his spirits did 
not seem to have suffered at all. Dr. Leonard had 
appeared late on the previous afternoon and declared 
another visit unnecessary. Molly, however, still de- 
clined to have anything to do with a person whose 
face was so disfigured with ointment and cotton. 
Molly herself was in a better temper on this bright 
morning and less of a trial to Hope, who had been 
nearly distracted between her own troubles and her 
cross little sister. 

" Molly's hair does look dreadfully," she remarked 
to June. " Would you cut the other side to match ? " 

June shook his head. " I'd leave it till Mother 
comes. She will trim it and it will soon grow again." 

Hope had risen with the intention of making cake 
for tea. She had never tried, but surely it was a 

306 



A LOAF OF CAKE 307 

simple matter to follow a rule, and after the dishes 
were washed, she opened the only cookbook the house 
afforded and went to work. Molly climbed on a chair 
to watch and her small fingers promptly investigated 
the sugar bowl. 

" Oh, darling, you mustn't taste things ! June, 
can't you take Molly with you ? " 

" I can take her, but she makes such a row over 
the way Max looks. Little heathen, you ought to be 
ashamed! You may yell if you like, but if you are 
going with me, you are going with Max ! " 

" Oh, leave her! I'll manage somehow." 

" No, she is going, and she will be decent, too ! 
It's time she was made to behave properly ! " 

Molly, like a wise child, realized that the moment 
had arrived when she must capitulate, and to the 
astonishment of every one, she seized Max's hand and 
announced her intention of going only with him. 

" Well, you are the limit ! " commented June. 
" You've been pretending all the time. We're not 
going far, only to the pier where I mean to sandpaper 
the other paddle and Molly can fish." 

Hope thought her little sister had fished to some 
purpose when an hour later June returned, carrying 
Molly dripping wet from top to toe. 

" She managed to fall off the pier," he growled as 
he stood her in the kitchen sink, prepared, since his 
sister had been so persistently unlike herself all sum- 



308 WHEN MAX CAME 

mer, to hear an annoyed comment on his carelessness. 
To his surprise and relief, Hope only sighed over 
Molly's condition. 

" Begin to undress her, will you? My cake is ready 
to take out of the oven, and after I do that I'll be right 
there." 

June removed Molly's sandals and socks and tickled 
her pink feet, evoking contortions which resulted in 
her sitting down in the half- filled dish-pan. Luckily 
its contents were clean and nearly cold, but the water 
was distributed about equally over June and the floor. 
Hope, in horror, almost dropped her cake, and Molly 
was uncertain whether to laugh or cry. Since June 
and cousin Max were both making fun of her mishap, 
she concluded that it must be a new kind of joke, and 
added her quota to their mirth. 

" Carry her into my room ! " commanded Hope. 
" I'm ready now." 

Molly did not seem to be at all the worse for her 
double ducking as Hope dressed her in dry garments 
and took her on her lap to rub the damp curls. The 
boys were still in the kitchen where June, like the 
good brother he was, had kindly mopped the spilled 
water. After a silence, Hope heard a suppressed 
chuckle. 

" It is a weird-looking cake," said June softly. 

" She must have made it with scrambled eggs," 
commented Max in the same cautious whisper, 



A LOAF OF CAKE 309 

Hope's face suddenly flushed, but she bit her lip and 
went on rubbing Molly's hair. 

" I guess we'd better take out a life insurance policy 
before we tackle that ! " June added with a sudden 
laugh in which his cousin joined. 

" I think that will do now, Molly. Run out in the 
sunshine and it will be dry in a minute or two," said 
Hope, putting the little sister down. 

Molly trotted into the kitchen, closely followed by 
Hope. The boys started and looked apologetic as she 
came in. 

Hope walked to the table and surveyed her master- 
piece. It was of a level thinness, and while brown, 
had a peculiar curdled appearance that did suggest 
scrambled eggs. Inspecting it gravely, she broke off 
a corner. The inside showed soggy and yellow. 

" I don't know what I did that wasn't right, but it 
evidently isn't the way it should be. It hasn't any 
salt and I forgot the flavoring but that can't make 
it look so queer. Perhaps," she added, " I ought not 
to have stirred in the eggs the way I did." 

"Didn't you beat them?" Max inquired. "I've 
seen Rosalia, Aunt May's cook, whisking eggs when 
she made cake." 

u No, I didn't," Hope replied so pleasantly that June 
stared at them both. " The rule said to, but I was in 
a hurry and I thought it probably wouldn't matter. 
It isn't fit for a pig to eat. After this, we'll go to 



310 WHEN MAX CAME 

Mrs. Tyler's as Mother said. It's plain that I don't 
know as much about cooking as I supposed I did." 

w Good for you, Polly Anne ! " June exclaimed 
cordially, convinced by the evidence of his own ears 
that whether or not it had been " right about face " 
with Hope, she and Max had at least declared an 
armistice. " Anyway, you can't expect to make cake 
like Mother's right off the first time you try. If you 
had beaten the eggs, probably it would be plastered to 
the oven roof, it would be that light and airy." 

" We'll tell Mrs. Tyler at dinner that we'll come all 
the time till Mother's home again," Hope repeated 
firmly. 

June gave his sister a look of unmixed approval, 
but knew better than to comment upon her sudden 
return to her usual self. " Where is that child ? " he 
demanded, realizing that Molly had disappeared. 

Molly was trying to climb into the hammock and 
bitterly resented any interference. 

" I shall not have another moment's peace while 
Mother's gone ! " sighed Hope. " I suppose it 
wouldn't be right to tie Molly up, but it would be a 
relief, for I don't dare let her out of my sight! " 

" I don't want Aunt Helen to come until I look a 
little less like a walking advertisement for a doctor ! " 
muttered Max as he went out to look for Charlotte. 
Somewhat to his own surprise, he had received that 
morning a reply to the letter he had written his 



A LOAF OF CAKE 311 

father's lawyer about Mr. Lemon. It was only by 
chance that the letter found Mr. Ames still in Boston. 
Either its naive boyishness interested him or he had 
given it due attention because the writer was the son 
of a valued client. At any rate, he had gone to con- 
siderable trouble to secure the information wanted, 
and the reply was friendly and personal. 

From it Max learned that the present well-known 
James Marshall was a man still under forty-five but 
that his father, another James, had been one of the 
founders of the Saguenay Club and in the habit of 
making yearly fishing trips in Canada. Part of the 
property to which the younger James fell heir consisted 
of valuable timber land in the region beyond 
Chicoutimi. 

Mr. Ames thought that the story told Max by Mr. 
Lemon might have some foundation in truth. He 
gave, however, a cautious and rather guarded opinion 
to the effect that young Mr. Marshall would probably 
demand the deed of gift executed by his father before 
giving the tale any consideration. Should the deed be 
forthcoming, the claim would doubtless be recognized, 
even though, as Mr. Ames strongly suspected, the 
transfer had never been recorded. That fact could be 
ascertained only by a search of the Canadian registry 
offices. At that date, Quebec was probably the near- 
est place where such registration could be made. 

As things stood, Mr. Marshall was the legal owner 



312 WHEN MAX CAME 

of the land unless the deed should prove otherwise. 
Even if it could be found, the lapse of time would com- 
plicate the affair, but Mr. Marshall was an honorable 
man, and one who would respect definite proof of an 
evident intention on his father's part. 

This letter and the lawyer's matter-of-fact accept- 
ance of their theory excited both Max and Charlotte, 
but neither saw what was to be done next. 

" I suppose it would come very dear to have those 
records in Quebec searched," Max remarked thought- 
fully. u Evidently that is the only thing that will 
help, since we don't know where the deed is." 

" Perhaps Mr. Lemon could pay for having it done," 
suggested Charlotte. 

" ' It may be so, but I doubt it ! ' " quoted Max 
derisively. " Not much, Carlotta ! But we are up 
against it now! Dad might think me rather an ex- 
pensive luxury if he got a big bill ^rom Mr. Ames for 
having those registers looked over, especially if there 
wasn't any record there! No, I don't quite see even 
Dad approving my philanthropic motives to that ex- 
tent." 

" You certainly ought to ask him first," declared 
Charlotte sensibly. , 

" And that's so easy, seeing he's in India ! I wish 
I knew how much it would cost." 

" Mr. Ames could probably tell you." 

" I fancy it would depend on how long it took," 



A LOAF OF CAKE 313 

Max went on. " No, Carlotta, the only thing is to lo- 
cate that deed, and if we find Kitty, we shall probably 
find it, too. It's high time we heard from her." 

" It's not likely she took it," remarked Charlotte, 
convinced, though she could not say on what grounds, 
that a woman leaving home in such haste, and encum- 
bered with a baby, would not bother to take with her 
a document of no value to her personally. Charlotte 
did not feel as sanguine as Max about Kitty's return 
or about the identity of Mrs. Lemoine. Nor was she 
wholly in sympathy with his desire to discover this 
deed. With a wisdom beyond her years, she doubted 
if it would be any real kindness to the old man, whose 
clouded brain was probably incapable of understand- 
ing changed circumstances. Recovery of the property, 
though rightfully his, might only make him the prey 
of unscrupulous men. 

Charlotte did not put her doubts into words, ap- 
preciating, though not wholly approving Max's point 
of view. To him, it was a problem to be solved, a 
game he wanted to play and win. 



I 



CHAPTER XXIII 

ON THE BUCKBOARD 

44 ~f HAVE a plan to propose," said June as they 
started for breakfast on the morning of the 
day when Mrs. Ralston was expected. " Mr. 
Tyler has to drive into town this afternoon to fetch 
Mother—" 

Hope interrupted him. " I was thinking of that. 
Why don't you and Max go, too? You can just as 
well as not, for he will take the double-seated car- 
riage if you ask him." 

" My plan is even more altruistic. Let's ask him to 
take the big buckboard, and everybody go, Charlotte 
and Nan and Molly, of course." 

"Oh, that would be fun!" exclaimed Hope, her 
face brightening. " I haven't been to town since we 
came. It would be nice for us to meet Mother at the 
steamer." 

" There's no reason why we shouldn't. If Mrs. 
Walker wants to go, there will be room for her, but 
probably she won't care for so long a drive." 

" Nan and Charlotte will be delighted. We were 
saying yesterday that it had been nine weeks since we 

3H 



ON THE BUCKBOARD 315 

even saw a college ice, and we positively need some new 
fancy work." 

" Max looks decent enough now so that I'm not 
ashamed to take him where people will see him," June 
went on. " To be sure, his forehead is skinning in 
spots and he has a gouge in one cheek, but he looks 
somewhat better since he's been able to wash his 
face." 

Max merely grinned. June's teasing never annoyed 
him and it was a relief that the salve and bandages 
were gone, revealing only a few bad scratches. 

" Otherwise we would leave him at home. You 
can bob up Molly's curls somehow so she'll look less, 
as if she'd been scalped, and we'll all be gay." 

Charlotte and Anstice were enthusiastic over the 
plan and Mrs. Walker consented at once to their be- 
ing of the party, though she did not herself feel equal 
to a trip of sixteen miles over the country roads. Mr. 
Tyler, who always enjoyed being with the young peo- 
ple, willingly consented to take two horses and the 
light, easily-running buckboard. 

" June, you do think of such nice things ! " said 
Hope appreciatively when the plans were settled. 

" That idea came to me in the night. At first I 
thought it was one of Max's pets, one of his what- 
do-you-call-'em ? — his earth spirits, but I soon saw 
it wasn't for it had wheels ! " replied her brother 
merrily. 



316 WHEN MAX CAME 

When the party assembled that afternoon ready for 
their trip to town, they frankly stared at one another. 
The girls in pretty ginghams and shady hats hardly 
seemed the same trio who had so long been seen only 
in blue skirts and middy blouses, while the change in 
the boys was equally marked. 

" Max, I didn't know you were so good-looking ! " 
commented June. " Not since the day you wore your 
wedding garments have I seen such splendor! And 
a straw hat — ye gods and little fishes — wait till I 
locate mine ! " 

" You look slightly glorious yourself! " retorted his 
cousin. 

" Red silk socks and a tie to match ! " teased June. 
" There is no denying it, Max ; you are rather a hand- 
some fellow ! " 

The girls laughed and Max pursued June with a 
blush on his tanned face and wrath in his gray eyes. 

" Look here, boys ! " called Mr. Tyler. " I'm ready 
to start and there's no time for skylarking. Call it 
off now; you can fight it out later. You boys look 
enough alike anyway to be taken for own brothers, so 
June's throwing bouquets at himself as well as Max." 

" I'll get even with you ! " threatened Max as he 
gave up the pursuit of his laughing cousin and jumped 
on the buckboard. 

" Max would have made such a pretty girl ! " June 
went on as he seated himself as far as possible from 



ON THE BUCKBOARD 317 

the object of his remarks. " It is a shame that his 
eyes and complexion should be wasted on a boy ! " 

June forgot that a buckboard is provided by a con- 
tinuous step by which a person at the back may reach 
the front without stopping the horses or stepping to 
the ground. The next second he was nearly choked 
by a gray-clad arm that came around his neck, nor 
would Max release his hold until June promised to re- 
frain from further personal remarks. 

" We'll go round through the village," said Mr. 
Tyler when peace was restored. " I want to see Abe 
Nelson a minute and one of you boys can be getting 
the mail." 

The buckboard drew up before the single shop af- 
forded by the village, a little country store of the most 
miscellaneous character, where everything from a tape- 
needle to a plow-share could be purchased. There 
was no order or arrangement on its shelves, where 
jars of ancient candy jostled patent medicines, and 
grass-seed and insect powder lived harmoniously with 
Quaker oats and dried currants. One corner was par- 
titioned off for a postoffice and as June dashed in, he 
saw that the box set aside for the use of the Ralston 
cottage was well filled. 

" Max gets the most of course," he reported as he 
distributed the mail. " Our foreign correspondence 
as usual is extensive, but here's one for him with a 
United States stamp ! This must be investigated ! " 



318 WHEN MAX CAME 

" You robber ! n exclaimed his cousin. " Here, give 
me my letters, you grinning ape ! " 

" Considering how near is our relationship, those 
are not nice names to call me ! " retorted June, still re- 
taining his grasp on the bundle of mail. 

There was a sound of parting paper and one fat 
letter split open, showering a number of small en- 
velopes upon Anstice and Molly. 

" Oh, say ! I didn't mean to ! " apologized June, 
leaning over to help collect them. " Well, what next ! 
What are you going to do with flower seeds ? * Wall- 
flowers ! ' ' Auricula ! ' What on earth is auricula, 
anyhow ? " 

" Just you give those to me ! " commanded Max, 
laughing, though his color had risen. " There are a 
few things you can't find out, little boy ! " 

The papers of English flower seeds were passed from 
one to another until they found a final resting place in 
Charlotte's lap. Max was intent upon his rescued 
letters. After a hasty inspection, he thrust them into 
a pocket, reserving two only for immediate reading; 
one postmarked at Calcutta and the other bearing the 
American stamp. 

Charlotte examined the seed packages curiously. 
" Auricula seems to be a kind of primrose," she said 
in an undertone. " Max, what are you going to do 
with these?" 

Max looked up from his father's letter. The others 



ON THE BUCKBOARD 319 

were intent upon a story Mr. Tyler was telling and 
there seemed no probability of being overheard. 

" Don't you tell, then, Carlotta ! When I came, I 
stopped over night at Newhope. The woman at the 
farmhouse where I stayed had a lovely garden and 
she didn't have much else. She was dandy to me, and 
so I asked Aunt May to send me some seeds of Eng- 
lish flowers to give her." 

" She'll like them," said Charlotte appreciatively. 
" That is such a nice thing to do, Max! " 

" It isn't much," replied Max, coloring a little. 
" She charged hardly anything for putting me up. 
I wanted to get hold of some Dutch bulbs, but I 
couldn't think of a way." 

Mr. Tyler turned off on the Blueberry mountain 
road, the two powerful horses trotting along as if the 
buckboard was no weight behind them. Molly, on the 
middle seat between Hope and Anstice, was quite wild 
with pleasure and excitement. Hope had looped the 
disfigured curls with ribbon and no one could notice 
any deficiency. 

" Carlotta," inquired Max as he folded his second 
letter, " Mrs. Tyler has an extra room, hasn't she? " 

" Yes, a pleasant little one at the back of the house." 

"This letter is from Mr. Thornley. He was in 
New York when he wrote. He says if I can find 
him a place to stay, he'll come here for a few days 
next week." 



3 20 WHEN MAX CAME 

" I'm sure he could have that room, but does that 
mean you'll have to go back earlier than you ex- 
pected ? " 

" St. George doesn't say a word about his plans ; he 
just asks if I can arrange for him." 

Hope overheard and turned. " Max, if that's Mr. 
Thornley you are speaking of, I know Mother will 
want him to come to our house." 

" That's just what he won't do," Max replied pleas- 
antly. " It would be different if you were in your 
own home, but here you are only camping." 

Hope looked troubled, but did not know how to 
meet the emergency. " Please don't speak to Mrs. 
Tyler till Mother knows." 

" No, I won't," agreed Max, " but I am afraid St. 
George won't come if he thinks he is making the least 
trouble for Auntie. For that reason he would really 
prefer to be at the Tylers'." 

" He'll have the nightmare if he sleeps in that 
room," declared Anstice. " The wall-paper is the ex- 
act colors of a squashed worm ! " 

" Nan, how can you think of such awful things ! " 
expostulated Charlotte. 

" It is," repeated her positive sister. " The man 
who designed that paper must have walked on cater- 
pillars for weeks before he made it. You just step 
on the next one you meet and you'll see that it is 
true ! " 



ON THE BUCKBOARD 321 

" I certainly shall not, and, Nan, you're really dread- 
ful! Mamma says she can't imagine how you ever 
think of the fearful things you say. Max, I wish you 
wouldn't laugh at her. She's so silly that she isn't 
even funny ! " 

" Mamma ought not to have named me for my two 
grandmothers ! " went on Anstice. " It's enough to 
give anybody queer ideas to be called Anstice Deborah ! 
It's strange I'm not queerer than I am, and I feel sure 
I shall never improve. People ought to be careful 
what they name babies ! " 

At this, Charlotte laughed with Max. After all, 
Anstice's odd speeches possessed a certain charm. 

There were several steep hills on the road, one in 
particular being so precipitous that they all walked 
down, with the exception of Molly and Hope, who re- 
mained clutching her little sister and looking some- 
what fearfully at the broad flanks of the horses as 
they pulled back and curved out on either side of the 
pole. The buckboard reached the bottom in perfect 
safety and waited a moment for the others to come up. 
Anstice had rushed into a meadow for goldenrod with 
which she decorated her own and Hope's Panama hats. 
Charlotte preferred late daisies for the red Mexican 
one she was still wearing. 

The houses grew more frequent and a smell of salt 
came into the air. Soon the country road changed to 
a village street with pleasant houses and shady yards 



322 WriEN MAX CAME 

on either side; saw and paper mills appeared, then a 
livery stable and a row of business blocks. 

" Is that an electric car? " June exclaimed. " Hold 
on, will you, Mr. Tyler, till I go and embrace it ? " 

" There's another ! " laughed Hope. " Hurry, June ; 
it will escape ! " 

" It is so long since I have seen one that I really feel 
afraid of it! " sighed June, sinking back on the seat. 

Mr. Tyler drew up before a dry-goods store. 

" The steamer will be along in about three-quar- 
ters of an hour and the wharf is the other end of town. 
So all of you that are going down there, want to be in 
the buckboard a sharp forty minutes from now. The 
best ice-cream and candy place is that one over there. ,, 

The entire party started for the shop indicated, but 
Charlotte, half across the street, turned. 

" Won't you come too, Mr. Tyler ? We'd like to 
have you." 

The farmer shook his head. " I'm not much on 
sweet stuff, Charlotte. I've an errand here in the 
hardware store and I must keep my eye on the team." 

The confection of that special summer was styled 
a " hinkey dee," which, being interpreted, is a rich 
chocolate ice over which melted, unsweetened chocolate 
has been poured. A " hinkey dee dee " is the same 
dainty with the addition of chopped nuts. 

" I know I shall not like that," remarked Charlotte, 
regarding doubtfully the brimming glasses that the 



ON THE BUCKBOARD 323 

clerk was filling. I don't care so very much for choc- 
olate. Nan, let me taste yours ? " 

Anstice complied and Charlotte made a face. 

" That's all I want. I'll have mine strawberry." 

" It's licking good ! " remarked Anstice calmly. 

" Nan, what an expression ! " remonstrated the 
shocked Charlotte. 

" It is the exact word for it ! " declared Max mer- 
rily, as the thick, sticky chocolate clung in ropes to 
his spoon. " That is precisely what it is, Nan." 

Molly insisted on sampling Hope's hinkey dee dee, 
but a single taste was enough and she returned to her 
plate of pink strawberry cream, quite pleased that it 
was like Charlotte's. 

" I could eat another," proclaimed June thought- 
fully. 

" June, you can't ! " Hope protested in horror. 
" At any rate, don't ! " 

" So could I ! " announced Max. " I could do 
nicely with another myself ! Let's wait till the 
steamer comes and then bring Auntie." 

" I shall be ready for two by that time," observed 
his cousin, " but we'll wait by all means." 

After their visit to the drug-store, the young people 
separated ; Hope and Anstice going in search of fancy 
work, while Charlotte looked at post-cards, Max at 
some finely colored photographs, and June and Molly 
inspected all the windows. 



324 WHEN MAX CAME 

Mr. Tyler was waiting on the buckboard at the ap- 
pointed time and watched with amusement as they 
came hurrying from different directions. All had 
packages and Molly was waving in glee a toy canoe 
paddle ornamented with a painted Indian's head that 
her cousin had given her. 

" Where's Max ? " asked Hope. " Charlotte, wasn't 
he with you ? " 

" He was in the picture shop, but he went out be- 
fore I did/' replied Charlotte, standing up for a look 
around. 

June produced a tin horn and blew a long blast that 
apparently attracted the attention of every one within 
hearing, with the exception of Max. The main street 
of the little town was gay with buckboards and sum- 
mer visitors. 

" The steamer is signaling," said Mr. Tyler, gather- 
ing his reins. " We'll collect Max on the way back, 
but it's time we started. June," he added in a lower 
tone, " sit down and be easy. Hasn't it struck you 
that when your mother sees Molly, she will ask about 
her curls? It's pretty certain, too, that Hope's going 
to cry. There's a story to be told, and it will be easier 
for Max if he isn't in at its telling." 

June's eyes returned a look of comprehension. He 
knew that his cousin greatly dreaded having attention 
called to his part in the affair. 

" Don't worry about Max," said Mr. Tyler over his 



ON THE BUCKBOARD 325 

shoulder to the girls. " He'll turn up when we come 
back." 

The steamer was making fast to the wharf when 
the buckboard joined the crowd of gay vehicles on the 
broad pier, and Mrs. Ralston waved a glad greeting 
to them from the deck. 

There were few passengers to come ashore, but 
many were waiting for the boat, which was bound for 
Boston. In a few minutes, Mrs. Ralston was being 
hugged and kissed by the young people. 

" Molly darling, you're choking Mother ! And how 
perfectly dear of you all to come and meet me! 
What a nice surprise ! But where's Max, and why is 
Molly so grand with a big blue bow?" 

To her mother's amazement, Hope burst into tears. 

"Why, daughter, what's the trouble? Hope, dear 
child, don't — not here!" 

It was evident there was a story to tell, and it was 
told, not by tearful Hope, but by June, Charlotte and 
Mr. Tyler as the buckboard slowly climbed the hill. 
Mrs. Ralston turned very pale and hugged Molly 
closely. Then she put an arm around Hope and 
choked a little. 

" That's all," finished Mr. Tyler, " only Max, like 
most fellows who do really plucky things, doesn't want 
a fuss made over him." 

Max was in sight as they turned again into the 
business street, standing on a corner, talking earnestly 



326 WHEN MAX CAME 

with a tall, gray-haired gentleman. As he saw the 
approaching buckboard, he shook hands with apparent 
cordiality and waved a welcome to his aunt. 

"Ever so glad to have you back again, Auntie! " 
he announced cheerfully as he swung himself on the 
step of the moving vehicle. Mrs. Ralston was still 
pale and Hope's tear-stained face and the general sub- 
dued appearance of the party showed that the story 
of Molly's runaway had been told. 

Max leaned over to kiss his aunt and put a pack- 
age on the seat between her and Hope. 

" To eat going home — " he began, but he got no 
further, for Mrs. Ralston had seen the trace of those 
cruel thorns. 

" Now, Auntie, please don't ! " 

" No, I won't, Max, not now, anyway, but you must 
let me kiss just that worst scratch." 

" It will surely disappear at once ! " said Max 
whimsically. " Did they tell you that we are going 
back to the chemist's?" 

Mr. Tyler had already stopped before it. 

" This is my treat," said Max, stepping from the 
running-board where he had been standing. " And 
Mr. Tyler must come too ! You may have anything 
you want, but come you must." 

" If I can have a plain ice-cream, I'll try it, but I 
don't want any of your chickadees, or whatever you 
call your fancy affairs," replied Mr. Tyler, pleased at 



ON THE BUCKBOARD 327 

the invitation, and twisting the reins around the whip 
as he spoke. 

By the time the second ice was eaten, the young peo- 
ple had recovered their spirits and left town happy and 
hilarious. Mrs. Ralston was still holding Molly 
tightly and smiling with a little difficulty, but Max, 
who was sitting with her on the middle seat, was in 
too happy a mood to be resisted. Hope had moved 
back with Charlotte, and Anstice, theoretically, was in 
front with June and Mr. Tyler, but practically, she 
was standing most of the time on the running-board, 
enjoying the unusual freedom. 

As the dusk fell, the girls began to sing. Max de- 
sired to learn all the latest American songs, ostensibly 
with a view to teaching them to Connie. Molly went 
to sleep, still clutching the precious paddle which had 
once been dropped out, and more than once interfered 
with hajt-brims. 

" What terribly good chocolates ! " declared Anstice 
when Max's box had been opened and passed to the 
front seat. " This has been a most refreshing day. 
It's such a lark to have a trip like this ! " 

" There's another thing you ought to take in," said 
Mr. Tyler, accepting a fat nougatine, " and that's the 
Ford picnic over on Silver Lake. It takes place every 
year. Judge Ford, who has a big place here on the 
shore, gives it on some land he owns down by the 
lake, and the whole country-side turns out. Every- 



328 WHEN MAX CAME 

body comes and brings a basket lunch, and there's 
speeches and all sorts of doings. There are several 
boys' camps on the lake and they come and have swim- 
ming matches and boat races. We usually go over 
for a part of the day. It's next week Tuesday, and 
I'll take the whole crowd of you either in the buck- 
board or the hayrack. It'll be my treat, as Max says." 

This proposition was received with enthusiasm and 
Anstice hugged Mr. Tyler on the spot. 

" It will be such fun ! " she sighed. " I know I shall 
not sleep a minute between now and next Tuesday ! " 

" Max," inquired June as a sudden recollection 
struck him, " who was your pick-up there in town — 
that gentleman with whom you were talking? " 

His cousin gave an amused laugh. " I've had a 
previous invitation to this picnic. I met that gentle- 
man once in Rome; it was Judge Ford himself! " 



CHAPTER XXIV 



A PICNIC AND A PIG 



THE day of Judge Ford's annual picnic dawned 
clear and bright — perfect weather for a coun- 
try gathering. Early in the morning farmers' 
teams began to pass the cottage, with everybody in 
the family, from grandmother down to the tiniest 
baby, bound for a day's outing. 

Judge Ford owned a beautiful estate on the seashore 
some miles out of town, but spent only a few weeks 
there each season. He had been a country boy, and 
during years in the city where he had amassed a large 
fortune, never forgot his native village. Even in his 
absence the annual picnic on the shores of lovely Silver 
Lake was never omitted ; prizes were provided for the 
sports and all who came were made welcome. 

Mr. Tyler decided to take the buckboard, while the 
overflow could spill into the old carryall that was to 
convey Mrs. Tyler and Sally. Anstice and Hope 
gathered goldenrod and ferns to make knots for the 
headstalls of the horses who seemed quite conscious 
of their unusual grandeur. There was much running 

329 



330 WHEN MAX CAME 

back and forth between the gray cottage and the Tyler 
house before all preparations were made. 

" I wish Mother felt like going," said Charlotte 
rather wistfully as she and Anstice finally arrived, 
quite ready for the start. 

" So do I, dear, but it would be a hard day for 
her," replied Mrs. Ralston. " I wouldn't think of tak- 
ing Molly, only Mrs. Tyler says she never stays later 
than three, and Molly and I are coming home with 
her." 

The way to Silver Lake was new, but like all the 
Maine roads, one of beauty, up and down hill through 
the smiling country and the shadowy, evergreen woods. 
Long before they reached the lake, they found 
themselves part of a converging procession of convey- 
ances of all descriptions, from automobiles and buck- 
boards to hayracks and broken-down sulkies, for every 
one, near and far, turned out for the picnic. It was a 
red-letter day to the isolated farm people, and many 
summer visitors had driven out from town. 

The grounds were rolling meadows sloping toward 
the lake. The grass had been cut, and large trees, 
isolated, or in groups, were standing here and there, 
•while smaller ones fringed the shore. These afforded 
plenty of shade which was appreciated by the pic- 
nickers, and many families had already settled under 
them. 

Booths had been erected, at one of which lemonade 



A PICNIC AND A PIG 331 

was dispensed to all the thirsty; at another, peanuts 
and candy were given to the children. This term 
seemed to be very liberally interpreted by those in 
charge, for many who applied were far from their 
childhood, and yet none seemed to be refused. Sev- 
eral tents also shone white on the meadow. Here, 
enterprising dealers from town were attracting an in- 
terested crowd by their glittering displays of toys and 
cheap knicknacks, or offering a chance to purchase 
sandwiches and cake. 

By far the greater part of the crowd was gathered 
around a temporary platform where were seated a 
band in uniform, the village minister and several of 
its best known citizens, with three or four gentlemen 
evidently from the city. 

Our party arrived just in time to hear Judge Ford's 
speech. It was not long and was received with flat- 
tering enthusiasm. He spoke of the necessity of 
loyalty to birthplace and home, to the village, the 
state and the nation, and emphasized the fact that 
such loyalty was true patriotism. Judge Ford him- 
self wore the little bronze button of the Grand Army 
of the Republic, and there were in the audience three 
or four veterans who proudly showed the same badge. 
There were younger men as well, who had enlisted 
during the war with Spain, and some of them had seen 
service; but there were many country lads who had 
never been ten miles from home. Listening to the 



332 WHEN MAX CAME 

cultivated, convincing voice of the orator, they felt 
stir within them that indescribable consciousness of 
being a part of a tremendous whole. 

The brief exercises were concluded by a band con- 
cert. During the speeches the young people had been 
standing together on the outskirts of the crowd. Max 
had thought that Judge Ford recognized him and was 
not surprised to see him approach through the scatter- 
ing groups. 

" Ah, here is my nice boy again ! " said the judge, 
shaking hands cordially. " Introduce me to your 
friends, Maxfield. I'm delighted that you came 
over." 

Max complied and the judge greeted them all 
warmly. " And have you had any candy ? " he de- 
manded the next moment. 

" We didn't consider ourselves exactly as kiddies! " 
Max explained apologetically. 

"You are mere infants in the eyes of the law! 
Come with me, everybody! I want to be sure you 
have my special mixture." 

The " special mixture " proved to be gibraltars such 
as Salem makes only to order and a bag of fresh pea- 
nuts apiece. 

" What are these? " Max asked, when they had said 
good-by to their kind host and he was at leisure to 
investigate the contents of the striped paper bag. 

" Max Hamilton ! " Anstice demanded in real con- 



A PICNIC AND A PIG 333 

sternation, " do you mean to say you don't know pea- 
nuts when you see them ? " 

" But what if I see them for the first time? " asked 
Max quaintly. 

Anstice's vivid little face turned positively pale. 
" Oh, what a forsaken place Italy must be! Why, if 
you eat them steadily all the rest of your life, you can 
never make up for these wasted years! When we 
went to town on the buckboard, didn't you notice the 
peanut roaster by the fruit stand?" 

" I saw a tin thing making an unholy row with a 
steam whistle," Max replied, carefully inspecting the 
nuts. 

M Well, that was it," said Anstice solemnly. 
" Next time, you'll know it. There's no squeal like 
that of a peanut ! Take off that red husk, too. Now, 
see what you've missed ! " 

" They are prime ! " Max acknowledged when speech 
was again possible. " Nan," he went on teasingly, 
" have you ever eaten fresh figs? Or ripe dates? Or 
picked oranges from the trees? You haven't? Oh, 
Nancy dear, when I think what you poor forsaken 
New Englanders have missed — " 

The water sports were about to begin. Max and 
Charlotte, becoming separated from the others, sat 
down on the beach near the lake. The first number 
on the program was a tub race, the contestants be- 
ing chiefly boys from different camps. Eight boys 



334 WHEN MAX CAME 

started. It takes a cool head to paddle a tub before 
excited spectators and one tub after another came to 
grief. At last the one in the lead was an uncertain 
craft occupied by a little lad about ten, with a mop of 
curly, fire-red hair. He was paddling carefully and 
steadily, and being so light in weight, did not tip his 
tub nearly as much as did his heavier opponents. Evi- 
dently, he was a favorite, for the rest of the camp was 
cheering him enthusiastically. 

" Go it, Red-head ! Good for you, Brick-top ! 
Keep it up, kid! Bully for Sunny Jim! Three 
cheers for the camp baby ! " 

"Good work, Jim!" shouted a man who appeared 
to be one of the councillors. 

Sunny Jim was growing excited ; his eyes were blaz- 
ing; and he was only a yard from the line when a 
movement too eager tipped the tub and under he went, 
directly in front of Max and Charlotte. The water 
was not deep and he arose at once. 

"Oh, tip it out and start again!" exclaimed Max 
encouragingly. " See, the next chap has capsized ! 
You'll get there yet ! " 

Sunny Jim hesitated, biting his lip. He was only 
a little fellow and to empty that tub in water of such 
depth was more than his strength could accomplish. 
Sunny Jim was game however; he delayed but an in- 
stant, then waded ashore, towing the submerged tub; 
emptied it; climbed cautiously in and started again 



A PICNIC AND A PIG 335 

amid the applause of the entire crowd. This time he 
rounded the stake and was received with shouts and 
cheers. 

A canoe race followed, ending in an upset and four 
boys in the water ; a mishap that merely added to their 
pleasure. It was succeeded by swimming and diving 
contests and feats, which, as one of the men announced, 
were open to all. 

" Max, I wish you'd get out there and teach that 
land-lubber how to dive," said June's voice behind 
them. " I wish you would get into the water and 
show them how to do a thing or two." 

" They are only kids," replied his cousin. " That 
little Sunny Jim dived in rather good form just then. 
I'd like to go in for the fun of it, but I wouldn't stand 
any show in these clothes." 

" It's a shame you haven't your bathing suit. I want 
you to show off; you could beat them all. Jinks! 
They're catching a greased pig up here ! " 

Apparently they were not catching it, for great con- 
fusion was presently caused by the appearance of the 
small porker in the midst of the crowd. The com- 
motion caused by its erratic movements was laughable ; 
shrieks of alarm, mingled with screams of merriment, 
greeted its approach. Behind, came several panting 
pursuers, but as the quarry approached the lake, a 
girlish figure clad in immaculate white duck, darted 
suddenly from a group and flung itself upon the pig! 



336 WHEN MAX CAME 

The next instant both were rolling in the dust, amid 
roars and cheers from the crowd and ear-splitting 
squeals from the captured porker. 

" Gee ! That was a clean tackle ! " shouted June. 

" Max ! " exclaimed Charlotte in absolute horror. 
"That is Nan! Look at her!" 

The next second, Anstice, her white dress covered 
with dirt and grease, arose from the ground, clutching 
her protesting victim firmly by the leg. 

" Charlotte ! " she called cheerfully, " come and help 
hold this pig ! " 

Her sister was too horrified to laugh, but Max, with 
tears streaming down his face, threw himself flat on 
the ground. 

The crowd was howling with enjoyment, both over 
the undisturbed Anstice, and Charlotte, who looked 
literally petrified with consternation. 

" What shall I do? " inquired Anstice of the specta- 
tors in general. " Let him go again ? " 

" He's yours," explained the grinning observers. 
" The one who catches him, has him." 

"Mine? I don't want him!" protested Anstice. 
" Here, take him! " and she thrust the vociferous pig 
on a great gawky country lad who stood near. 
" You'd better take him by another leg. I'm afraid 
I've loosened this one." 

The funny side of the situation struck Charlotte at 




That is Nan! Look at her! "—Page 336. 



A PICNIC AND A PIG 337 

last, and leaning against the nearest tree, she wept with 
mirth. 

" Nan, what are you going to do next ? " she finally 
gasped. 

" See what's going on up here," replied the literal 
Anstice, calmly wiping her hands on her skirt and not 
at all dismayed by the shocking state of her clothes. 

Max sat up, looked after her and again lay prostrate. 

" Nan certainly gets there every time! " he acknowl- 
edged, wiping the tears from his face. " If she isn't 
like Connie Lisle ! That's exactly what Connie would 
have done ! " 

June, spent with laughter, had followed Anstice to 
watch some obstacle races that were beginning, and 
incidentally to be present in case that adventurous 
young lady should evince a further inclination to join 
in the sports, but Max and Charlotte stayed to note 
the mishaps of an inexperienced youth in a skiff. The 
boat was very tiny, but the amateur oarsman had taken 
with him two girls. Seated in the stern they quite 
overbalanced the frail craft, the bow of which cleared 
the lake by nine inches, while the water was almost 
touching the dresses of the passengers. 

The young man betrayed the fact that it was his 
initial experience in handling oars, for he dipped them 
deeply and flourished them in the air with correspond- 
ing vigor. The boat was but a short distance from 



, 



338 WHEN MAX CAME 

land when its dangerous overweighted condition was 
discovered by the crowd and their shouts and com- 
ments made the girls uneasy. The oarsman turned 
and headed for shore while one of the girls stepped 
past him and stood in the bow ready to land. The 
young man attempted to come in with style and ap- 
plied himself with energy to his task, but since no one 
was steering, he ran the craft violently into a sub- 
merged stone. The boat stopped so suddenly that the 
girl in the bow went headfirst into the lake ; the one in 
the stern also tipped overboard, and the young man 
himself sprawled on his back in the bottom of the 
skiff. 

In spite of the sympathy aroused for the two un- 
fortunate victims of his inexperience, the incident was 
received with almost as much enthusiasm as Anstice's 
exploit. The angry and indignant girls, quite unhurt 
except for a wetting in the shallow water, walked 
ashore and disappeared in the crowd, paying no at- 
tention to their unlucky escort, who picked himself 
up amid jeers and bursts of laughter and made a sec- 
ond attempt to come ashore. As far as the boat was 
concerned, it was more successful, but in getting out, 
he stepped on the gunwale, and measured his length on 
the beach with both feet in the water. 

Charlotte and Max laughed until they were tired. 
After the mishap he had brought on his unlucky com- 
panions, this seemed a fitting fate. 



A PICNIC AND A PIG 339 

"I'm sorry for those girls!" said Charlotte. 
" Poor things ! Oh, here is Hope ! " 

Hope had seen the accident and was very much 
amused. 

" Mr. Tyler is ready to start any time we get to- 
gether. Mamma and Molly went some time ago with 
Mrs. Tyler and Sally, and he says he wants to go 
before long. We are to meet at the buckboard." 

The young people did not care to remain longer, and 
fifteen minutes later, were leaving the picnic ground 
behind. 

" It has been an exciting day, but I am tired," said 
Charlotte, who found the springy buckboard luxurious 
after sitting so long on the lake bank. " Nan, where 
did you get that all-day sucker? " 

" Bought it," replied Anstice calmly as she un- 
wrapped the dainty. " There's one for everybody." 

Charlotte looked askance at the penny lollipops 
stuck on sticks, but she did not refuse to eat one as 
long as all were doing so. The big, awkward sweet- 
meats prevented much conversation, but as they 
reached the crossroads, June gave a sudden exclama- 
tion. 

" Oh, thunder ! I promised Mother solemnly to 
stop off back there and go to the creamery after but- 
ter! Hold on, will you, Mr. Tyler? I'll have to go 
back." 

" Sorry I haven't time to take you round that way, 



340 WHEN MAX CAME 

but I must get home and 'tend to my chores," said the 
farmer, pulling in his horses. 

" Max, it always takes two people to lug butter ! " 
coaxed June. 

" Oh, I'm coming," said his cousin, swinging him- 
self from the still moving buckboard. " Mr. Tyler, 
I've had the time of my life." 

The horses started, and the two turned back, while 
the buckboard soon traversed the mile to the Ralston 
cottage. The shadows of the elms were growing long 
across the pleasant lawn, where Mrs. Ralston and a 
strange gentleman were sitting while Molly played 
with the pussies. 



i HT T 



CHAPTER XXV 

MR. THORNLEY 

"f |"1HAT must be Mr. Thornley ! " thought Hope 
as she jumped from the buckboard after 
thanking Mr. Tyler for her pleasant day. 
Charlotte and Anstice waved greetings to Mrs. Ral- 
ston and the carriage vanished around the turn. 

"Where are the boys, Hope?" exclaimed her 
mother. " Oh, they went for butter ! I had quite 
forgotten. That is too bad, for here is Mr. Thornley." 

Hope shook hands, feeling suddenly shy, though 
the newcomer did not seem in the least formidable. 
He was tall and thin, with brown hair and a clever, 
clean-shaven dark face. His mouth and chin looked 
stern and decisive, but he had a pleasant, rather whim- 
sical smile, handsome teeth, a pair of kindly hu- 
morous blue eyes and a low, quiet voice. He pos- 
sessed that same air which Hope had at once noted 
and rather resented in her cousin, — of being at ease 
under any conditions and in any place. 

" Max will be so disappointed not to see you im- 
mediately," said Mrs. Ralston. " Hope, " she added, 
turning to her daughter, " perhaps Mr. Thornley 

341 



342 WHEN MAX CAME 

would like to walk up to meet the boys, if you will 
show him the way." 

" I should very much like to do so, if Miss Hope 
isn't too tired after her picnic," said Mr. Thornley 
with a smile bestowed in a manner that made the re- 
cipient feel it to be a personal favor. 

" I am not in the least tired, I assure you, and. I will 
go gladly." 

They sauntered up the road, Hope feeling more and 
more attracted by this clever-looking Englishman. 
Little sentences from Connie's letter came into her 
mind. " St. George is just as nice and dear as al- 
ways." " It is such a comfort to have St. George to 
talk with again, for he always listens so politely." 

Hope had never before realized that a grown man 
could treat a very young girl with such gracious cour- 
tesy and consideration. She felt the charm of his 
manner and knew she had never talked better or more 
easily. He listened with such attention and responded 
so promptly to her effort to be entertaining that be- 
fore they reached the turn, she had decided that Mr. 
Thornley was indeed the paragon Connie and Max had 
represented him. 

They came to the cross-roads without meeting the 
boys, and leaned against the wall to wait, since it was 
doubtful from which direction they would come. 

" May I smoke, Miss Hope ? " inquired Mr. Thorn- 
ley. 



MR, THORNLEY 343 

Hope gave permission, rather flattered by the 
courteous request, and watched while he filled and 
lighted his pipe. 

" We mortals have our limitations," he remarked. 
" One of my many is my love for smoking. My boys 
think it a great joke when I make them promise not to 
use tobacco till they are grown, but I don't mind their 
being amused as long as they keep their promises." 

" I think the boys are coming now," said Hope. " I 
hear their voices, but they won't see us until they are 
really upon us." 

In a moment the voices had grown very near and to 
Hope's amusement, Mr. Thornley carefully put his 
eyeglasses in his pocket and placed his pipe on the wall 
behind him. 

" You see I know Max of old," he said with a 
whimsical smile. " It seems prudent to remove any 
breakable appendages." 

The boys came around the curve and saw the two 
by the wall. 

" Ecco San Giorgio!" shouted Max and to the de- 
light of both cousins he flung impetuous arms around 
Mr. Thornley's neck and embraced him in true con- 
tinental fashion. Mr. Thornley, looking much 
amused, hugged Max heartily, and slapped him on the 
back. 

11 Max, you're the same old penny ! Dear boy ! " 
holding him off at arm's length. " How fit you arc 



344 WHEN MAX CAME 

looking! Not much like the skinny clothespole you 
were in Jersey." 

"Why, I've gained eighteen pounds, St. George!" 

" You do look well ! " said Mr. Thornley, regarding 
him affectionately and then turning to June. " Max 
seems to have forgotten his manners, but this will be 
June." 

June shook hands, conscious that those same kindly 
eyes were scrutinizing him in a way that indicated their 
owner to be quick in reading character and judging a 
new acquaintance. 

" Oh, St. George! " exclaimed Max, still holding one 
of Mr. Thornley's hands in both his own, " I can't be- 
lieve it's really you ! " 

"Have I changed so much since May?" asked the 
newcomer in a tone that made Hope laugh. He 
reached for his pipe as he spoke. 

" Tremendously ! I wouldn't know you but for 
that ! " laughed Max, indicating the pipe. " And 
when did you see Connie last? " 

" On the pier at Portrae. She and Mrs. Lisle were 
stopping all August. Connie and I had a delectable 
picnic on the Storr; didn't she write you? " 

" Yes, she has written several times. And are you 
going back with me? " 

" I can't say," replied Mr. Thornley, looking at him 
with a twinkle in his eyes. Max's face grew suddenly 
grave. 



MR. THORNLEY 345 

" You're not ? Why, St. George, I never expected 
you'd play me such a trick as that! Why not? " 

Mr. Thornley puffed imperturbably at his pipe. " I 
believe you've booked your passage on a Naples 
steamer. I am obliged to land in France." 

" Oh, for what ? I thought we'd have such sport 
going across together! St. George, couldn't you ar- 
range your business better than that?" 

Max was so disappointed that he failed to see the 
mischief in Mr. Thornley's eyes. 

" You forget that I'm only a semi-detached man. 
If I go with you to Naples, who escorts my lady 
mother to Rome? The first duty of man is to take 
care of his mother." 

" Where is Granny ? " demanded Max suddenly. 

" In Sussex. I intend to take a steamer to Cher- 
bourg and meet her in Paris. Then we shall travel 
slowly down to Rome. There are some small towns 
in northern Italy that I had thought of visiting while 
Mother stops with her friends in Florence. It all de- 
pends on whether I run across a congenial traveling- 
companion." 

June was smiling; he had already caught the drift 
of Mr. Thornley's remarks; but Max, still looking 
disturbed, was too troubled to grasp the situation. 

" I was so sure of finding the one I wanted," Mr. 
Thornley continued in his low, even voice, " that I 
booked a whole cabin on that Cherbourg steamer." 



346 WHEN MAX CAME 

Max looked up quickly. " St. George, you are a 
snide! Do you really want me? " 

" Oh, no, Max, you'd be no end of a nuisance ! I 
never give a fellow an invitation if there is the remotest 
chance of his accepting it! " 

June laughed outright and Max hugged Mr. Thorn- 
ley again. 

"Careful, now!" warned that gentleman. "I'm 
rather fond of this meerschaum. My last pet pipe 
was smashed by Ronald Maclvor in a moment of 
similar intense feeling." 

"I say, June!" demanded Max, turning to his 
cousin. " Isn't St. George no end of a peach, just 
as I said he was? " 

" Max, you are embarrassing your cousin. You 
shouldn't ask him such personal questions. I've al- 
ready decided that he is a nice boy, but he doesn't 
quite know whether he would like me for a school- 
master." 

This was so exactly the case that June blushed and 
settled the question on the spot. 

" Yes, I should, Mr. Thornley," he said frankly. 
" Max has talked a great deal about you." 

" That's most unwise of Max! I always feel preju- 
diced against a person I've heard extravagantly praised. 
By the way, Max, what is a * peach ' ? " 

" I thought Connie would wish to increase her 



MR. THORNLEY 347 

vocabulary, so I've learned some American slang to 
teach her," explained Max. 

" Pray don't ! Connie can talk slang in five differ- 
ent languages already, and that's enough. It makes 
one shudder to hear the things that innocent child can 
say! I haven't forgotten how you and she bribed a 
soldier at the Castel San Angelo to teach you some 
choice phrases." 

" I haven't forgotten the lecture you gave us 
either ! " said Max, laughing as he turned to his 
cousins. Connie and I were feeling very pleased 
over these choice additions to our collection, so the 
next time we went out with St. George, we tried them 
on him. He was looking at the sunset but he stopped 
that and looked at us ! Such a look ! Then he spoke ! 
His remarks were brief, but at their conclusion we 
felt like curled-up caterpillars. And there we didn't 
even know what the phrases meant! After we had 
recovered from the shock we invented a word for our- 
selves. It had many syllables but no meaning at all 
and belonged to no known language. It was as in- 
nocent as exclaiming ' Roast beef ! ' or ' Cream tarts ! ' 
We tried it on St. George, expecting great results, but 
apparently he didn't even hear it, which was a severe 
disappointment, for we were keen to have him ask 
what it meant. He wouldn't, and I've always 
suspected that he knew it was a sell and purposely re- 



348 WHEN MAX CAME 

frained from asking. Oh, I do hope the Lisles will 
be in Rome this winter ! " 

" So do I ! " Mr. Thornley agreed, " but I can't say 
I've ever thought you and Connie had a good effect on 
each other. Either one of you, taken alone, is more 
docile! Still, Connie is growing up, and Max occa- 
sionally shows gleams of reason ! " 

" Mr. Thornley is as nice as Max said, isn't he, 
Mamma? " remarked Hope that evening after a jolly 
supper at the Tylers' during which their guest had 
fraternized at once with all the young people. " Nan 
says he is quite the nicest man she ever met ! " 

" He is certainly agreeable," acquiesced Mrs. Ral- 
ston, glancing down the lake path where Mr. Thorn- 
ley and the boys had started for a paddle. June had 
gone ahead to launch the canoe, and the others were 
following more slowly, Max talking eagerly, with an 
arm across Mr. Thornley's shoulder. 

" He has a charming manner," she added. " I 
don't wonder Max is attached to him. I am glad that 
he seems very fond of Max." 

" Max was so funny ! " laughed Hope. " June said 
just that same thing and Max answered, ' Oh, St. 
George likes me, but he doesn't approve of me ! ' 
What do you suppose he meant? " 

" Probably just that," replied her mother. " It is 
possible to love dearly a person of whom you do not 
absolutely approve. I imagine that Mr. Thornley 



MR. THORNLEY 349 

isn't blind to Max's shortcomings and probably feels 
some responsibility concerning them." 

Hope's face grew thoughtful. Max had once 
spoken frankly to her of his attempts to overcome his 
worst faults. Hot-tempered Hope had been strug- 
gling bravely ever since Molly's runaway and had suc- 
ceeded better than she expected. The tears came to 
her eyes as she remembered how absolutely without re- 
sentment her cousin showed himself; how he took it so 
completely for granted that they were " all to be 
chums." Hope had told the whole story to her 
mother, and been comforted and encouraged, but it 
was hard for her to think about the first of the sum- 
mer, and to acknowledge that some of its consequences 
were unchangeable. She longed now for the close 
companionship with her cousin that she as well as 
June might have had, but that had been given to Char- 
lotte. Hope was accepting this fact with as good a 
grace as possible. 

Meanwhile the canoe was skimming rapidly over the 
quiet lake, with hardly a sound from the paddles. 

" You may smoke, you know, St. George," said Max 
mischievously. 

" Thanks ! I really don't care to," was the im- 
perturbable reply. " How beautiful it all is ! " 

Both boys grew enthusiastic over this tribute to their 
loved lake. Mr. Thornley was very appreciative and 
saw new charms at every turn. They skirted the en- 



350 WHEN MAX CAME 

tire shore, paddling under water in Indian fashion 
most of the way. As they approached Mystery Point, 
some shadowy forms on the sand attracted attention. 

"If I'm seeing straight, those are deer!" said Mr. 
Thornley in a whisper. " Can't you draw nearer, 
boys? Softly!" 

Very silently the canoe crept closer, and came within 
fifty feet. The approach was so noiseless that the 
deer, a doe and a half-grown fawn, did not notice any- 
thing unusual. As the canoe stopped off shore, the 
doe actually walked into the water to eat lilypads in 
the little bayou. For fully fifteen minutes the watchers 
looked on silently, but at last some slight noise, or 
some change in the wind made their presence known. 
With a snort and splash the doe rushed ashore, dis- 
appearing in the underbrush with her fawn close at her 
heels. 

" Isn't that great ! " exclaimed Max. " Now, I have 
seen wild deer as well as a bear." 

" If it were not so nearly dark, they would have seen 
us. That's an interesting experience," said Mr. 
Thornley. " A bear, Max ? I haven't heard that 
tale." 

He heard it then from both boys and to their great 
pleasure proposed another night on the mountain. 

" There are stacks of things we must do in these 
ten days," said Max. "Oh, it will be sport to climb 
Blueberry again ! " 



MR. THORNLEY 351 

"And there's that picnic we're going to have," 
added June. 

u Life is going to be a continued picnic from now till 
the time we leave, St. George," explained Max. " But 
this is a most particular kind of picnic, which my 
American cousins call a i bacon bat.' Nan says she 
hasn't had a chance to wear her best hat all summer 
and she is going to wear it then. Carlotta says she 
shall not!" 

" I'll bet on Nan ! " announced June calmly. " Nan 
knows what she wants in this world, whether it happens 
to be a hat or a pig! " 

" If I live to be a hundred I shall never forget this 
afternoon ! " laughed Max, convulsed at the mere rec- 
ollection. " Mrs. Walker sent Nan to bed for riding 
a cow — what will she do when she hears of her catch- 
ing a greased pig? " 

" Whatever it is, Nan will bob up serenely," 
grinned June. " Let's plan for Saturday night on the 
mountain. If it's clear and not too cold, we'd better 
take advantage of the weather when we can get it. 
And there should be a full moon. We'll come down 
early enough the next morning so Mother won't mind 
its being Sunday." 

Max paid little attention to his cousin's plan. He 
had stopped paddling and converted the gunwale of the 
canoe into an imaginary keyboard upon which he was 
improvising some melody. 



352 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Look here, young Paderewski ! " began June teas- 
ingly. "Has it hit you hard? Where does it hurt 
worst?" 

"I believe I can do it!" Max declared. "Wait 
until I get my hands on that old tin pan at the Tylers' 
that masquerades as a piano ! n 

Max would give no further explanation, though 
more than once he dropped his paddle to impress on 
the summer night through his sensitive finger tips, the 
silent melody that haunted his brain. 

" Mr. Thornley," June inquired at length, " is Max 
often taken in this way? " 

Mr. Thornley laughed. " Rome has many magic 
voices for those who have ears to hear. There are 
times, not infrequent, when Max listens altogether too 
eagerly." 

" You mustn't tell tales out of school," said Max 
merrily. " Really, now, if June was there, he would 
listen himself! Some days the air is full of their 
calling. I often hear the Pantheon above all the noise 
of the streets." 

" I guess it would be a bad place for me ! " com- 
mented June dryly. " I'm not used to hearing things 
at night." 

" You can hear them in the daytime quite as dis- 
tinctly," said Mr. Thornley mischievously. " In fact, 
they are most plainly audible in the morning about the 
time for school to begin ! " 



MR. THORNLEY 353 

" I perceive ! " grinned June. " In other words, I 
catch on! So little Max has been known to play 
truant?" 

"I haven't for a long time!" protested his cousin. 
" St. George, that was distinctly unfair! Besides, I 
promised I wouldn't do it again. That was mean! 
I shall not let either one of you hear this great musical 
event which is going to come off as soon as I make 
connections with a piano." 

Charlotte was the only one who heard it, and she 
listened with interest while Max, after shutting the 
door and seating himself at the piano, ran his fingers 
over the yellowed keys. It had once been a good in- 
strument and did not deserve the contemptuous name 
he had given it. 

"Now, Carlotta, listen!" he began with a mis- 
chievous look in his eyes. " This is the first move- 
ment — see if you know what I am telling you." 

Charlotte gave close attention to the march of chords 
that came from a distance and drew nearer. She en- 
joyed Max's improvisations, for this musical game 
had been played before. 

" It's a gathering of some kind," she said, as the 
long, slim fingers ceased their rapid action. " It isn't 
a march on foot either ; there are horses." 

" Right-oh ! " said Max. " It's the people driving 
to the picnic yesterday. Now, this?" plunging into 
a fantastic medley. 



354 WHEN MAX CAME 

" That's the sports and the fun afterward. What's 
that one strain which keeps coming in ? " 

" That is the Anstice motif. This is the Epic of 
Nan! " replied Max, suddenly transferring the ringers 
of his right hand to the high treble keys. 

Charlotte rose from her seat to lean over the piano, 
for in upon the bass notes of the amused and applaud- 
ing spectators, came the squeal of the pursued pig. 
She listened intently while its vociferations alternated 
with the " Anstice motif " until the movement ended 
with the crash of the capture. 

" Max, that's the cleverest thing I ever heard! " she 
exclaimed, laughing, but filled with admiration for the 
musician who could conceive the idea and execute it 
so skilfully. "I can't see how you ever did it! 
Couldn't you write it out?" 

"It wouldn't amount to anything if I could; it 
would be funny only to those who knew what it was ; 
and when you consider the matter, you couldn't make 
a really great piece of music out of a greased pig! " 
said Max gayly, his fingers gliding into a waltz that 
set Charlotte's feet twitching. " We must have an- 
other dance soon; we'll ask Auntie to come and play, 
for I want to practice that last jig step Nan taught 
me." 

" Nan knows all the newest dances. Mamma 
thinks they are shockingly undignified, but they are 
stacks of fun." 



MR. THORNLEY 355 

" I shall teach them to Connie. She can dance sev- 
eral now, but it takes Nan to have the latest acquisi- 
tions. What did your mother say about that pig?" 

" She didn't say anything!" Charlotte acknowl- 
edged. " I believe she felt unequal to the situation, 
and really, when you stop to think about it, what 
could she say ? " 

There was a light footfall on the piazza. Charlotte, 
standing with her back to the window, was unconscious 
of the inquisitive, radiant face that looked in. Max 
saw Anstice, grinned, and began to sing teasingly. 

" There was a lady loved a pig. 
' Honey ! ' said she. 
'Lovely swine, will you be mine?' 
'Humph!' said he!" 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE " BACON BAT " 

CHARLOTTE was desperately drowsy on the 
morning of the day appointed for Max's 
" bacon bat," but further sleep was impossible 
after excited Anstice had jumped out of bed at an 
early hour to cast anxious glances at the sky. 

The sun was shining brightly and though the air was 
chilly enough to justify the suspicion of frost during 
the past night, the indications were for one of those 
perfect, still autumn days peculiar to early September. 

" Nan, it won't make the slightest difference to the 
weather if you fall out that window, and it does mat- 
ter to me! Do come back to bed. Any one would 
think you'd never been on a picnic before ! " 

" I never did go on one where there was to be a fire 
and bacon and eggs," replied Anstice, shivering in the 
sharp air and coming into bed again, where she tried to 
warm her cold feet against her patient and long-suffer- 
ing sister. 

Charlotte gave a shriek, instantly muffled at thought 
of her mother in the next room. 

M Nan, you are enough to drive one crazy ! For 

356 



THE " BACON BAT " 357 

pity's sake, keep your feet where they are; don't try 
another place ! " 

" I know this will be the most exciting day of my 
life," responded Anstice, cuddling down under the 
blankets. " Max says we will go across the lake to 
the beach at the foot of that side hill and build the 
fire. There are to be eggs by the dozen and stacks of 
bacon. Mrs. Tyler is making doughnuts! I smell 
them!" 

" Nan, where are you going? " demanded Charlotte 
in dismay, for Anstice had again bounced out of bed 
and was getting into kimono and slippers. 

" After a doughnut, of course ! You needn't get 
up; I'll bring you one." 

Charlotte subsided. She was too much accustomed 
to her sister's unexpected ways to be surprised, and 
when Anstice returned five minutes later, with two 
large, freshly sugared doughnuts on a saucer, Char- 
lotte was quite ready to eat her share. 

" I hoped for two apiece," said Anstice when the 
last crumb had vanished, " but Mrs. Tyler thought one 
was all either of us ought to eat at this hour in the 
morning. I don't see what that has to do with it. 
She said Mr. Tyler had already eaten three, but being 
a mere man, she supposed he'd probably live through 
it. Let's get up, Charlotte. We can begin to make 
the sandwiches ! " 

" We might as well," agreed Charlotte. " For some 



358 WHEN MAX CAME 

reasons, Nan, I shall be glad to get home again where 
I have a room to myself." 

" I've been very patient with you this summer," re- 
torted Anstice. " I haven't said one word, no matter 
how many times you have straightened my bureau 
drawers or folded my hair-ribbons ! " 

" It's very good of you! " sighed Charlotte, who was 
luckily blessed with a sense of humor. 

Anstice was not the only one excited over the 
prospect of a picnic. Sky, lake and mountain all 
seemed offering an invitation to house-dwellers to 
come out and enjoy the loveliness of the autumn 
world. A boating trip and an outdoor dinner ap- 
peared as a positive duty on so beautiful a day. 

Hope was nearly as full of joyous anticipation as 
Anstice, and since Max, too, was extremely enthusi- 
astic, they were sent ahead in the canoe, while the 
calmer members of the party followed more slowly in 
the boat. The canoe had taken its full share of the 
lunch, and was already a third of the distance across 
the lake before the boat left the pier, for Anstice and 
Max were in such high spirits that energetic paddling 
was the only rate of progress at all suited to their 
mood. 

Mrs. Ralston and Molly sat in the stern to steer, 
and Charlotte perched in the bow, while June and Mr. 
Thornley took the oars. The lake was sunny and 
placid, and every moment of the way seemed so full 



THE " BACON BAT " 359 

of beauty that neither oarsman felt any impulse to 
hurry after the canoe. 

High on the slopes of Blueberry and Bald face, a 
few bright leaves were beginning to glimmer among 
the dark trees, — just a hint of the glorious raiment the 
frost would presently fling over all the hills. 

Their destination was a spot on the opposite shore, 
where a small sandy beach lay at the foot of a clear- 
ing on the slope of a steep side hill. At this point, 
there was a little bayou with so narrow an entrance that 
it seemed almost a separate pond. The hills on either 
side made it look deep and dark, but when lighted by 
the sun, there was nothing forbidding or sombre in 
its aspect. 

The canoe reached the place appointed long before 
the boat, and presently Mrs. Ralston, who alone was 
facing the bayou, saw the girls and Max moving about 
on the beach, evidently collecting wood for the fire. 

" Max is getting everything ready to begin as soon 
as we come," she said, smiling. " How they are 
scurrying around ! " 

June cast a glance over his shoulder. " I don't care 
if they begin to cook, but I want to be in for my share 
of the results. I am so hungry now that I could eat 
'most anything. Max has lighted his fire." 

" They may start on the bacon, but we have the 
eggs with us," replied his mother. 

June turned back, and the Dart kept on her leisurely 



360 WHEN MAX CAME 

way. Across the lake flew a loon. Its unearthly 
scream seemed a direct challenge to the people in the 
boat. 

" They ought to make him take out a license to yell 
like that ! " commented June, mocking the bird so suc- 
cessfully that Molly's eyes grew round with wonder. 

" June, that's a clever imitation," declared Mr. 
Thornley. "If you hadn't been so near, I should 
really have thought it another loon." 

"Oh, look!" Mrs. Ralston exclaimed suddenly. 
"What has happened? Why, just see how much 
smoke is coming from Max's fire ! " 

Both Mr. Thornley and June stopped rowing to look 
around. Clouds of thickening smoke were rising 
from the hillside. After an instant, Mr. Thornley 
dipped his oars. 

" Let's see what we can do in the way of speed, 
June. Max has evidently let his fire get away from 
him." 

" Set the stroke and I'll keep up," replied June 
briefly. 

Not for nothing had Mr. Thornley rowed on the 
Oxford varsity crew! The Dart began fairly to leap 
through the water. 

" It never occurred to me to caution Max," said 
Mr. Thornley after a moment. " He has camped so 
often with his father and had so much experience 
along that line that I never thought of warning him." 



THE " BACON BAT" 361 

"Will it do any great damage?" asked Mrs. Ral- 
ston anxiously. 

u I should suppose the only danger is that it may 
get into the woods. If it does, the standing timber 
may suffer. We can probably prevent that." 

" We haven't had rain for weeks, and everything is 
so dry ! " sighed Mrs. Ralston. 

" I can see the flames! " announced Charlotte from 
her seat in the bow. " It looks as if the whole hill- 
side was burning! " 

The Dart was near enough now so that an occa- 
sional figure could be distinguished amid the drifting 
smoke. Max and the girls were evidently doing their 
best to fight the fast spreading fire. 

Upon the beach were a few scattered and smoking 
embers, and the circle of burned grass began at the 
bank above the sand and curved in a widening arc up 
the side hill. The hill itself was covered with short 
dried grass, matted pine needles, a few stunted ever- 
greens and a great quantity of broken branches and 
twigs, all of the most inflammable nature. Scorched 
by the summer sun and dried by the wind, they were 
in the^xact condition readily to catch fire. On either 
side of the clearing were the woods, and above it rose 
the heavily timbered slopes of Baldface. 

Hope, with a cushion she had soaked in water, was 
wildly endeavoring to check the flames on one side. 
Anstice, with a paddle, was making equally violent ef- 



362 WHEN MAX CAME 

forts to beat out the advancing line on the other, and 
Max was desperately trying with the second paddle to 
dig a trench in the comparatively sandy soil at the top 
of the cleared slope. 

The boat grated on the beach and Mr. Thornley and 
June sprang hastily ashore. 

" Molly and I will stay here," said Mrs. Ralston 
anxiously. " Charlotte, be very careful." 

The fire was spreading rapidly in three directions. 
Max, only, was having the slightest success in checking 
it, and his efforts were far from producing any last- 
ing results. Mr. Thornley hurried up the slope to 
Anstice. 

" Let me take that paddle, Nan ! Now, be careful ! 
Tuck your braid of hair inside your blouse ! Hope ! " 
he shouted, " take care not to let your clothes catch 
fire!" 

Paddle in hand, he sprang rapidly up the hill to help 
dig the ditch which alone might stop the fire in that 
direction. June seized a backboard and began to 
beat out the flames, while Charlotte soaked a second 
cushion. 

Molly, with eyes big and excited, sat on her mother's 
lap, watching the scene. Mrs. Ralston looked on for 
some moments with increasing anxiety. 

" It seems as if I must do something to help! " she 
said half aloud. 

For the boys, she had little fear, but the skirts and 



THE " BACON BAT " 363 

heavy hair of the girls made the proceeding far more 
dangerous for them. 

Hope's cushion finally caught fire, and the insuf- 
ficiently soaked hay went up quickly in a burst of 
flame. To Mrs. Ralston's great relief, she and 
Anstice presently came running down to the beach. 
Both were hot, smoky and breathless, with faces red- 
dened by the flames. 

" Mr. Thornley told us to take the boat and row 
over to that point near the Barrett farm and ask them 
for shovels and pails ! " gasped Hope. 

" He wouldn't let us stay," panted Anstice. " He 
said it wasn't safe with our skirts. See, he's sending 
Charlotte down, too ! " 

" I'll get out and let you two go alone," said Mrs. 
Ralston. " The beach is perfectly safe and you can 
go much more quickly without Molly and me." 

Anstice and Hope pushed off at once and rowed 
away with commendable speed. Charlotte went hastily 
down to the lake and knelt for an instant at its 
very margin. To Mrs. Ralston's consternation, she 
was extinguishing the smouldering edge of her serge 
skirt. 

" It was just the right length to catch," she said 
quietly, hearing Mrs. Ralston's gasp of horror. " The 
other girls have shorter ones. It's all right now. It 
was just burning slowly. Mr. Thornley says we 
mustn't come back for it isn't safe. He's just as calm 



364 WHEN MAX CAME 

as if nothing at all was going on. He and Max have 
stopped it at the top, but they can't do anything yet at 
the sides." 

"Oh, Charlotte!" exclaimed Mrs. Ralston, seeing 
that a full inch of hem was missing across the front 
of the blue skirt. " Oh, Charlotte ! " 

" It's out now," said Charlotte, smiling. " It 
wouldn't have blazed, and I felt it at once against my 
ankle." 

To the watchers on the beach, it seemed as if the 
fire spread like a whirlwind. The day was not at all 
breezy, but the debris with which the hillside was 
strewn blazed so quickly that it was terrible to think 
what would have happened had there been more wind. 
Nothing could be seen or heard of Mr. Thornley and 
the boys. So intent were Mrs. Ralston and Charlotte 
upon watching the conflagration that they were un- 
aware of the approach of a boat until it grounded on 
the beach beside them. 

Mr. Tyler and Ben tumbled out. The boat con- 
tained spades, an axe, some old brooms, and three 
pails. Mr. Tyler, seizing an armful of tools, rushed 
up the hill without stopping to speak. Ben hurriedly 
filled a couple of pails with water and started after 
him. 

" I can carry up that other pail ! " Charlotte volun- 
teered. " Oh, I will be careful, Mrs. Ralston ! I'll 
only go where it is burned out." 



THE " BACON BAT " 365 

Once on the scene of action, Charlotte stayed to 
fight fire, finding an old broom and a pail of water far 
better weapons than a pillow. 

Mr. Tyler and Ben fell to work with shovels, throw- 
ing the earth from the ditch upon the advancing line 
of fire. Provided with proper tools, Mr. Thornley and 
the boys found their efforts of more avail. Even to 
Mrs. Ralston, who saw only a smoke-begrimed man 
or boy running down to fill a pail and toiling back 
without time for speech, it seemed as if the flames 
were spreading less rapidly. There was one moment 
of horror when the fire suddenly sprang up into a large 
tree with a cruel roar that sounded demoniacal. Yet 
there was a terrible beauty in the fierce advance of the 
flames, in their incredible speed, their flashing colors, 
their wild leaps and bounds, the way they sprang like 
living things from one point to another; in the clouds 
of smoke that rose slowly and drifted off across a 
background of perfectly blue sky and the dark moun- 
tain pines. Down on the beach the sun shone brightly, 
the waves lapped gently on the shore, and a tiny sand- 
piper with slender red legs ran along the water's edge. 

Presently a second boat came quickly in with two 
men from the Barrett farm, also well provided with 
tools. Hope and Anstice, having executed their 
errand, rowed back more slowly, and Mrs. Ralston was 
glad when Charlotte soon returned to the beach. 

" Mr. Thornley sent me down again/' she explained. 



366 WHEN MAX CAME 

" He says we may carry water for the men to use, but 
we must keep away from the flames." 

Hope and Anstice joined in the water-carrying and 
were of great service in keeping the fire fighters sup- 
plied. For the most part, the men worked in silence 
and very coolly. The principal thing was to check 
the fire before it reached the edge of the clearing and 
there were seven to accomplish this, for Max and June 
were doing their full share. Little by little the line of 
flame was narrowed down. It was still raging vigor- 
ously at one point where there was a heap of dead 
wood and brittle branches, and on the opposite side a 
big tree blazed ominously. As the fire died out along 
the edges, the strength of the party could be concen- 
trated on these two places. Presently, the lessening 
tongues of flame vanished, and only wreaths and jets 
of smoke going up from charred logs were left. Two 
isolated stumps were still burning merrily, and Char- 
lotte took great satisfaction in pouring a pail of water 
upon each, and hearing it sizzle, at first vigorously, 
then less and less so, until the hissing died completely 
away with the subsiding smoke. 

There was still danger that the smouldering dead 
wood might again burst into flame, so the party carried 
water and faithfully poured it upon smoking spots 
until there seemed no possible chance of further con- 
flagration. Mr. Barrett and his son did not remain 
until this point was reached. As soon as the fire was 



THE " BACON BAT " 367 

under control, they rowed away, for both had left 
pressing farm duties to hurry to the rescue. 

The moment came when the last wreath of smoke 
died away and the hillside lay black and disfigured un- 
der the summer sky. The burned area extended from 
the lake bank to the top of the slope, to the woods on 
one side, and just into them on the other. 

" Well ! " said Mr. Tyler as he sat down on the 
prow of his boat and wiped his forehead with his 
handkerchief. " Now it's all over, I should like to 
hear how it began! " 

" It was all my fault," said Max bravely. He was 
begrimed with charcoal and smoke, his face was 
burned, and yet, in spite of both tan and heat, he was 
curiously pale. 

" How did it happen, Max?" asked Mr. Thornley. 
" You are such an experienced camper that I am sure 
it was an accident." 

Max flashed him a grateful look, but replied 
honestly. 

u It was an accident, St. George, but all the same it 
was due to my carelessness. The boat was so far be- 
hind the canoe and we were so hungry that I thought 
we would build the fire and have it all ready when you 
came. There weren't any stones on the beach to make 
a fireplace, so I thought I could take small logs. Of 
course I know that when there aren't stones, one 
should use green wood for the back and fore logs. 



368 WHEN MAX CAME 

But the beach was so wide that I thought it would be 
safe to take two pieces of drift wood that were just 
the right shape. I did dip them in the lake, but it 
wasn't as though they'd been thoroughly soaked. I 
lighted the fire and they blazed up at once. I saw it 
was a bigger fire than I could manage, so I began to 
put it out with sand. But just then, there was a v gust 
of wind toward the hill and a spark went over. Nan 
saw it almost at once and screamed, but though it 
seemed as if all three of us got there in a second, it 
was too late. We couldn't stop it." 

Max had told the story in a frank, straightforward 
manner, and at its conclusion, he turned to Mr. Tyler. 

" Who owns it ? " he asked, indicating the burned 
hillside. " I want to settle for any damages ; my 
father would wish me to." 

" It belongs to me," was Mr. Tyler's unexpected an- 
swer. 

"Oh, does it?" said Max rather blankly. "Then 
you'll let me pay whatever it's worth, won't you ? " 

" It isn't worth anything, Max," Mr. Tyler went on 
kindly. " Nothing burned that was of any value. 
There wasn't much there but dead branches and a 
young pine or two. If it had got into the woods, it 
would be a different story. The woods are dry, and 
there's no telling where we could have stopped it, if 
it had once started up Baldface. I should have hated 
to see my timber go. That's why I came in such a 



THE " BACON BAT " 369 

hurry when I saw the smoke. I didn't care anything 
about the clearing. As far as that's concerned, it's 
a good riddance to a lot of rubbish and I guess there'll 
be a record crop of blueberries there next year." 

Mr. Tyler rose as if he considered the matter set- 
tled, but Max seized his arm. 

" I was awfully careless, Mr. Tyler, for I knew bet- 
ter. I don't deserve to have you take it this way ! " 

" Well, now, Max," said Mr. Tyler almost affec- 
tionately, " it repays me as much as anything needs to 
be repaid, just to know you did it ! You see," he went 
on, enjoying the puzzled expression on Max's face, 
" I've sometimes thought you had 'most too much 
good sense for a boy of your age! It sort of worried 
me. I declare ! it's a real relief to me to know you can 
be as careless as the next chap ! " 

Mr. Tyler shoved the boat off as he ended, and was 
several strokes from shore before Max recovered from 
his surprise. 

" Max, that's one on you! " grinned June. "But, 
I say! The next time you want to start a little di- 
version in the shape of a conflagration, kindly do it on 
level land. This fighting a forest fire on a steep slope 
is no cinch ! " 

" You people must be almost starved," interposed 
Mrs. Ralston, who saw that Max was still too trou- 
bled to respond to any joking. " It's nearly three 
o'clock! The girls and Molly and I had some sand- 



37o WHEN MAX CAME 

wiches. Wash your hands in the lake and come and 
eat something. Here is a towel and a cake of soap. 
I knew Molly would get her hands dirty so I came 
provided." 

" ' Bacon and eggs and a bar of soap! ' " quoted Mr. 
Thornley as he leaned over the side of the boat. 
" I could almost eat all three ! " 

" Some of the eggs are broken," said Hope. " I 
knocked over the basket in my hurry to get a cushion." 

" We'll scramble them ! " replied Mr. Thornley. 
" June, let's row across the cove and get a few of 
those stones. Then we can make our fireplace and 
cook our belated picnic in no time." 

Max felt in anything but a picnic mood, but he made 
an attempt to put aside his depression, and went quietly 
off to collect the necessary fuel. When the stones ar- 
rived a heap of wood was ready on the beach. 

Mrs. Ralston made the coffee and Mr. Thornley and 
Charlotte cooked the bacon and eggs. The fun they 
had doing it raised the spirits of the whole party and 
by the time the delayed meal was over, Max had 
reached the point where a smile was no longer a dis- 
tinct effort, and everybody was feeling better. 

Charlotte had been concealing her scorched skirt, 
but all the weary fire-fighters bore unmistakable evi- 
dence of what they had been doing. Hands and faces 
had been washed, but smoke, ashes, and charcoal had 
worked havoc with sweaters and blouses. 



THE " BACON BAT " 371, 

" I was just thinking," said Hope, looking at her 
ruined shoes, u that it is lucky these clothes aren't 
expected to last longer than this vacation ! " 

Her brother chuckled. " I don't believe Mr. Thorn- 
ley ever had on such a dirty collar before! " 

" I know it is all smeared with charcoal," agreed 
that gentleman. " Fortunately it is not my only one." 

Molly suddenly waved a small hand toward the 
blackened hillside. " Max made a nawful big fire to 
cook a negg ! " she remarked confidentially. 

Molly's contributions to the family conversation 
were usually appreciated, but the success of this speech 
surprised her. Tired and somewhat unnerved by their 
recent experience, the entire party burst into such 
mirth that it was several seconds before any one was 
able to speak. 

"Molly!" gasped Mr. Thornley at last. "With 
your customary lucidity, you have stated the case in a 
nutshell ! " 

' You mean an eggshell ! " interposed the incor- 
rigible June, while Max seized the still astonished 
Molly and hugged her vigorously. 

" O dear! " sighed Charlotte as the laughter finally 
subsided. " How my side does ache ! This very 
morning Nan woke me up and said she knew it was 
going to be the most exciting day of her life! " 

" Well, it has been ! " declared Anstice. " This is 
certainly the most strenuous picnic I ever attended ! " 



CHAPTER XXVII 

A MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 

THE boys did not permit Mr. Thornley to for- 
get his suggestion for another night on the 
mountain. The plan was duly carried out 
with the substitution of Baldface for Blueberry. 

The girls wished to go for the climb and the fun of 
a picnic on the top. Since the way down by the 
north side was perfectly plain and open, they were 
allowed to join the party. How much had happened 
since their first ascent of the mountain and how well 
they had grown to know one another ! 

"Max," said Charlotte after the merry supper on 
the ledges as she was waiting for Hope and Anstice to 
start, " don't you think it is very odd that we have 
not heard from Mrs. Lemoine ? " 

" Yes, I do," replied Max reflectively. "Of course, 
she might not answer directly, and there is the possi- 
bility of her letter going astray, though I enclosed an 
addressed envelope with an English stamp so there is 
little chance of that. It ought to be here. Why, 
Carlotta, I simply must get that affair straightened out 
before I leave. I wish her letter would come, so I 

373 



MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 373 

could write again to Mr. Ames! You're going for 
the mail when you get down, aren't you? If there 
is a letter for me directed in my own writing, it will be 
the right one, so just keep it for me." 

Anstice and Hope would not leave until Mr. Thorn- 
ley had recited for them the " Ballad of East and 
West," which they had fallen into the habit of de- 
manding from him on every possible occasion, but at 
its conclusion, they announced themselves as ready 
and the girls began their descent. For a long dis- 
tance they could be seen from the summit, but pres- 
ently the slope of the mountain hid them from sight 
and when they came out on the level ground, it was 
too dark for them to be distinguished. 

The night was cooler than the one on Blueberry, 
but afforded a glorious sunset, followed by the beauty 
of the stars, and the harvest moon, rising over a view 
that included less of sea but more of lake and moun- 
tain than from the top of Blueberry. 

It was so beautiful and so peaceful that a long si- 
lence fell over the three, broken at last by Max. 

" St. George, what are you thinking? Do think in 
words ! I suppose there must be some adequate to it 
all, but I don't know them." 

Mr. Thornley smiled. " Oh, yes, you do, Max, if 
you mean those I was thinking." 

June looked up with interest. He often snubbed 
his cousin for being what he termed " poetical," but 



374 WHEN MAX CAME 

he himself was responsive to beauty of any kind, 
though never demonstrative concerning it. He did 
not recognize the words that Mr. Thornley spoke softly 
in a musical chant, but Max's face lighted at once. 

" O ye Mountains and Hills, bless ye the Lord : 
praise him and magnify him forever.'' 

" I feel better! " sighed Max. " I knew there must 
be something that belonged to it. It is the one thing 
adequate," he added, lying down to look at the stars, 
for the sunset radiance had faded. " I shall never 
hear it in church again without thinking of Baldface 
as well as other mountains I've seen. Look, St. 
George, — what is that constellation here in the 
west?" 

The others also lay flat and spent an hour with the 
stars until their brilliance was dimmed by the moon- 
light. The night was quiet and wholly undisturbed 
until dawn, when a white-headed eagle awakened them 
by the sound of his wings. He perched in a tree not 
fifty feet away, but it was not long before he dis- 
covered the invasion of his mountain top, and with a 
swoop, soared off over the valley, hardly seeming to 
move his pinions as he floated serenely high in the air. 

They had brought no breakfast, intending to go 
down early, so after seeing the sunrise, they started in 
the beautiful morning freshness and arrived at the 
house in time to take a swim before the family was 
astir. 



MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 375 

Charlotte gave Max a significant glance as the con- 
gregation came out after the church service, and 
presently found an opportunity to tell him that the 
long-expected letter had arrived. There was no 
chance to read it then, and no prospect of any, for 
they could not slip away from the others on the way 
home, and dinner would be ready immediately. 

" You read it and tell me when you have an op- 
portunity," said Charlotte. 

" No, I won't, Carlotta. We must read it to- 
gether, somehow. I tell you what we will do. As 
soon as we can get away after dinner, either one 
of us, let's go to our place in the little pines. If I 
get there first, I'll wait for you or you can wait for 
me." 

Charlotte agreed and was first to reach the ren- 
dezvous. The still afternoon sunlight fell softly 
through the fragrant pines. Near by, a cricket 
chirped and its cheerful reiteration brought a smile to 
Charlotte's lips. Soon after his arrival, Max had 
serenely stated a belief that crickets could bite. The 
unfailing gravity with which he defended this absurd 
theory in the face of much ridicule left June and 
Charlotte still uncertain as to whether or not he 
really believed it. To their clinching argument that 
crickets never did bite, he would calmly reply that it 
was no proof they couldn't ! 

When Max finally arrived, it was in haste. " Did 



376 WHEN MAX CAME 

you think I was never coming?" he exclaimed. "I 
thought June would never let me go! Where is it? " 

Charlotte held out the letter as he flung himself be- 
side her. Max broke the seal of the envelope and un- 
folded the single sheet it contained. 

" Oh, it's written in French ! " she remarked as she 
eagerly grasped it by one edge. 

" I'll translate," said Max, but he did not speak as 
his eye hastily skimmed the contents. As he turned 
the page his cheeks flushed and when he finished the 
brief epistle, he looked up with a disconcerted face. 

" Max, do read it to me ! " begged Charlotte, who 
had waited with outward calm but inward impatience. 

Her companion looked again at the letter. His ex- 
pression was a comical mixture of surprise and morti- 
fication, and he muttered something in a language 
which Charlotte did not understand. 

" This is a fix ! " he added in English. " Listen, 
Carlotta!" 

" Monsieur Maxfield Hamilton : 
u Honored Sir: 

" There has arrived at the convent of the holy nuns 
a letter which has caused to my mother much distress 
of soul. It was not possible for me to bring it at once 
to her, but when the occasion served, this was done. 

" Honored Sir, her sainted husband has been at rest, 
(God have mercy on his soul!) since before I, the little 
Angelique, saw the light. Nine and twenty years ago, 
he was laid in the sacred soil beneath the shadow of 



MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 377 

St. Roche, and my mother took ship from Canada 
forever. No woman had ever so gracious a husband, 
and he was, as well, devot. Never could he have lived 
as does this man of whom you write. It is an insult 
to the departed and to my mother that one should think 
so sainted a man as her Frangois could be such as your 
hermit — your man apart ! I do not understand why 
you should seek so to dishonor us, or to cast evil on 
the fair name of our dead. 

" I remain, Monsieur Hamilton, 
" Your servant, 

" Sceur Angelique." 

" Gracious ! " exclaimed Charlotte. " Max, how 
awful!" 

" It is rather bad," commented her companion with 
a rueful glance at the letter. " Hang it all ! I have 
got into a giddy mess ! " 

" I never thought she could take it so! " 

" There's no reason why she should," grumbled 
Max. " It just happened to strike her that way. 
I'd be willing to bet that her sainted Francois was a 
whiskey-drinking old French-Canadian trapper, and 
that it's lucky for her he is in Paradise! I'm sure I 
don't want to meet him there ! ' 

Max rumpled his hair in ludicrous perplexity. It 
was far from smooth before he touched it, and be- 
tween the wind and his troubled ringers, it bristled in 
every direction. 

" Carlotta, I was considerable of an idiot to have 
said so much to Mr. Lemon. You were right about 



378 WHEN MAX CAME 

that! Here I've managed to get him all excited, be- 
cause I was so sure that Mrs. Lemoine and Angelique 
were Kitty and the baby ! What will he say when he 
finds out they are not ? " 

" It does seem rather dreadful from his point of 
view," replied Charlotte soberly. " I suppose it 
would hardly answer to say nothing further to him? " 

"I'm afraid not. Confound it! I said too much; 
that's all the trouble. If only I'd held my tongue and 
never told him that I'd written ! Dad says I talk too 
much and this time I certainly have done so ! " 

" You might write him a note," suggested Charlotte. 

" It's improbable that he ever goes to the postoffice, 
and I doubt if he can read. Besides, Carlotta, to get 
out of it that way seems a bit cowardly. On the 
whole, seeing I've got into this fix, I fancy I'd better 
take what's coming to me." 

" It would be nicer to tell him, only Mr. Lemon is 
rather crazy. He can't be quite sane, you know, Max. 
I am afraid he may be so disappointed that he will be 
angry and do something violent." 

" No fear of that. He is an old man, and I am too 
quick for him. Well, Carlotta, seeing we leave so 
soon, this afternoon may be the best chance and the 
only thing to do is to take my medicine at once." 

u I shall go, too, and wait for you, but this time I 
am going up the path till I can see the cottage, so I 
shall know if you are in any danger." 



MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 379 

Max scorned this possibility, but Charlotte insisted. 
Once again, they made their way through the sea of 
fragrant little pines and the sheep pasture to the high- 
way. They came out below the base of Bald face, and 
as they took the uphill mountain road, saw far in the 
other direction, a single sauntering figure. 

" That's St. George," said Max. " We'll walk back 
with him." 

11 1 wish I could go all the way with you," Charlotte 
remarked as she reluctantly stopped at the edge of the 
clearing. " I feel as if it was just as much my fault." 

Max gave her an odd glance. " I'm always getting 
into scrapes, Carlotta. It's not your fault in the least ; 
I'm invariably doing things I'd better have left un- 
done — more's the pity! It seems to me I'm always 
having to apologize for something! Well, here 
goes! " 

Charlotte waited, concealed in the thick evergreens 
while Max approached the cottage. Mr. Lemon was 
in sight, pottering in his forlorn garden, but looked 
up suspiciously as his visitor drew near. To Char- 
lotte's surprise, the interview was rather long. Max 
seemed to be experiencing difficulty in making himself 
understood, but suddenly Mr. Lemon's voice rose in 
a wild shriek. The words were perfectly unintelligible 
to the terrified Charlotte, but the tone was hoarse 
with anger. Max stood his ground and still tried to 
explain, in spite of the flood of ejaculations that was 



380 WHEN MAX CAME 

being poured upon him, but finally Mr. Lemon seized 
a hoe and started threateningly toward his visitor. 

Charlotte gave a gasp of horror but the half-insane 
old man never came within striking distance of the 
agile lad, nor did he pursue more than a few yards. 

" What did he say? " she asked, when the two had 
regained the safety of the road. 

" Nothing fit to repeat ! " panted Max. " He was 
chiefly swearing at me. Whew ! I never heard such 
blue language in all my life! Carlotta, when I went 
before, I evidently didn't make him understand in the 
least about the letter or what I was trying to do. Of 
course he is half mad anyway, if not three-quarters, 
and it is no wonder he didn't take it in. To-day, he 
understood and was simply raging. It is certain that 
if they had been the right people, he would have noth- 
ing to do with them." 

Max wiped the perspiration from his forehead as 
he concluded. 

" He is a past-master in the art of swearing. If 
that is the way he talked to Kitty, I don't wonder she 
left him!" 

Charlotte looked sympathetic. " Max, I think it is 
a shame when you tried so hard to straighten it. It 
seemed as if it must come out all right." 

" There appears to have been something wrong, 
but I don't see how I could have helped it. There's 
St. George ! We'll overtake him in a minute." 



MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 381 

Mr. Thornley turned in response to the whistle, and 
waited for them. As they came up, he saw imme- 
diately that something unusual had happened. 

" What's up? " he inquired, looking with an amused 
glance from Charlotte's distressed face to Max's 
flushed one. 

" We had a little plan that began the first of the 
summer and that we thought was coming out so nicely, 
and it hasn't/' replied Charlotte. " Shall we tell him, 
Max?" 

" Yes," said Max, " let's tell him. Come and sit 
here on the wall, St. George, and listen to our tale of 
woe." 

Mr. Thornley smiled, and seated himself on the 
stone wall, while the young people, one on either side 
of him, related in detail their excited story. He lis- 
tened without comment until they finished, and then, 
drawing his pipe from his pocket, proceeded to fill and 
light it. 

" Max," he remarked calmly, " you are an engaging 
young sinner, but it strikes me that you merit a caning 
for interfering in an affair that didn't in the least 
concern you." 

At this wholly unexpected comment, Charlotte's 
eyes and mouth both opened. 

" I meant it for the best ! " protested Max. " I was 
so sure that Mrs. Lemoine and Sister Angelique must 
be Kitty and the baby. I thought it was really worth 



382 WHEN MAX CAME 

while to try to arrange things when they had gone 
wrong for thirty years ! " 

Max looked much mortified and disconcerted as he 
leaned against the wall with hands in his pockets, try- 
ing with one foot to dislodge a loose stone. 

" According to your story, the attempt was made 
years ago by the priest and again by the philanthropist. 
It is only in books that young people succeed in set- 
tling a feud where their elders fail. It isn't frequent 
in real life. You and Charlotte would better have 
asked advice. It was possible to ascertain if your 
Mrs. Lemoine was the right one without her knowing 
that the inquiry was made. In that case, the matter 
could have been dropped without injury to her feel- 
ings and without exciting the indignation of Mr. 
Lemon. I know your intention was of the best, but 
it wasn't very wise, and it was very youthful ! " 

Mr. Thornley smiled at Charlotte as he concluded. 
His tone was so kindly that the words could leave no 
sting. They both looked at Max whose face was 
flushed and crest-fallen, with gaze bent on the stone 
he had now loosened and was turning idly with his 
foot. 

" I never thought of it in that way before," re- 
marked Charlotte reflectively after a pause which the 
September sunshine seemed to fill with golden silence. 

" No more did I," said Max frankly. " I thought, 
if I thought at all, that it was rather virtuous to be 



MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 383 

playing Providence like a little tin god on wheels. 
Honestly, it never occurred to me that I wasn't mind- 
ing my own business ! " 

"Now, Max," said Mr. Thornley, "look me 
straight in the face and acknowledge that you 
weren't ! " 

He spoke in so coaxing and whimsical a manner 
that Charlotte laughed outright, and the cloud on 
Max's face broke and disappeared before the smile he 
could not suppress. 

" It seems extremely natural to have St. George 
sitting on me again ! Well, then — sorry ! " 

" Good boy ! Now, I want to offer you two a bit 
of advice. The next time you set out to put the world 
to rights — mind, I'm not saying it isn't a commend- 
able ambition — please think until your hair is white 
before you again interfere between a supposed hus- 
band and wife, no matter what the circumstances. 
Taming lions and tigers is safer work and you're more 
likely to be thanked for doing it." 

Max had picked up the good-sized stone he had 
loosened, and as Mr. Thornley concluded, he threw 
it across the road. It crashed through the foliage of 
a tree and its descent was followed by that of a large 
hornet's nest. The angry insects flew out in a cloud 
as it came to earth. 

" ■ Discretion appears to be the better part of 
valor ! ' " commented Mr. Thornley as he hastily slid 



384 WHEN MAX CAME 

from the wall. " Let's stay not on the order of our 
going, but go at once ! " 

An ominous hum filled the air as the three pelted 
down the hill. Mr. Thornley kept pace on the slope 
but Charlotte and Max both distanced him on the 
level. 

" Wasn't one hornet's nest enough to bring about 
your ears? " he inquired as he came up with them. 

"If I had aimed at it, I should probably have 
missed ! " laughed Max. " I never saw it until it 
came down." 

" I knew it was there," said Charlotte. " I watched 
the hornets flying while we were talking." 

" St. George," began Max as they sauntered down 
the shady road at a more moderate pace. " It's ra- 
ther late in the day to ask advice, but I'm quite ready 
to take it if you'll tell me what to do now." 

Max's tone was such a queer combination of amuse- 
ment and penitence that Charlotte laughed. 

" On the whole, I think you've done enough," re- 
plied Mr. Thornley calmly, but his eyes twinkled as he 
spoke. " You would certainly better leave Mr. Lemon 
to himself; as for Madame — are you willing I should 
see that letter?" 

Max produced it, and looking over Mr. Thornley's 
shoulder, also re-read it. 

" I would write a brief note, saying it was a mis- 
take and apologizing for troubling her. What about 



MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 385 

this deed you mentioned? Have you been moving 
heaven and earth to find that, too? " 

" No, I haven't ! " Max declared, laughing at the ac- 
cusation. '* I only wrote to Dad's lawyer, and as I 
told you, he thinks the story of the land is true." 

"I don't!" said Mr. Thornley. "If it is, there 
is no way of proving it without the deed, and to find 
that seems impossible." 

" The ' thing that couldn't ' does happen some- 
times ! " Max persisted rather wilfully. 

Mr. Thornley shook his head. " Just mind your 
own business, old chap!" he said cheerfully. "It 
strikes me you've developed a penchant for writing 
letters nearly as bad as Ronald's attack a few years 
ago. Between his vivid imagination and a facile pen, 
dire disaster resulted, as you doubtless remember." 

Max smiled at the recollection. " I have made ra- 
ther an average mess out of it," he admitted. 

" What has happened to my pupil ? " inquired Mr. 
Thornley of the landscape in general. " Seldom have 
I seen Maxfield so meek ! " 

"It's doubtless due to Maine air. I assure you it 
won't last in Rome ! " retorted Max. " Oh, I do so 
hate to go! I've had such a jolly summer! " 

Max stopped abruptly, stood for half a moment in 
deep thought, and then laughed. Across his mind had 
flashed the memory of a June day in London and a 
certain conversation that had taken place in the Hotel 



386 WHEN MAX CAME 

Russell. Realizing that neither Charlotte nor St. 
George understood his amusement, he explained its 
cause. 

" Dad should have heard me saying that I didn't 
want to leave! " he ended. " He was right, after all." 

" Nan and I didn't want to come here, either," said 
Charlotte. " We were quite unhappy because we 
couldn't go to the seashore where we have had lovely 
times other summers. But it was necessary for 
Mamma to be in a quieter place, so we were ashamed 
to make a fuss. Just the other night we agreed that 
we had never had a nicer vacation." 

"It's a shame it has to end!" sighed Max. "I 
only wish I hadn't been such a dippy baboon over this 
Lemon affair ! " 

" Oh, cheer up! " interposed Mr. Thornley placidly. 
" The fellow who never gets into a mess is the chap 
who never does anything worth doing. That's merely 
one incident out of a whole happy summer ! " 

" I hate to leave ! " Max repeated. " It's lucky you 
are here, St. George, or I might not have the cour- 
age to tear myself away." 

" Who knows how soon we shall all meet again ? " 
inquired Mr. Thornley, smiling at Charlotte. " And 
I'm anticipating a pleasant trip through Italy." 

" Why didn't you tell me about it when you wrote ? " 
Max demanded. 

" I wanted to see for how much knocking about you 



MESSAGE FROM MRS. LEMOINE 387 

were fit, before proposing any plans. I have an in- 
teresting route to discuss on the steamer/' 

Max's face brightened. He knew that Mr. Thorn- 
ley was a delightful traveling companion and was 
secretly much pleased that he had been chosen to 
share those plans. " I'm so glad you wanted me ! " 
he said boyishly. " It might just as well have been 
some one else." 

" So it might ! " agreed Mr. Thornley mischievously. 
" Only it wasn't ! What a fortunate coincidence ! " 

" Everybody is going over on the buckboard with 
us to see us off," Max went on. " We'll start for 
town early enough so we can have ices at the chemist's. 
I sha'n't have many more American sundaes and when 
I get to New York, I'm going to buy about thirty 
pounds of Huyler's to take with me ! " 

"Shall you let him?" inquired the shocked Char- 
lotte of Mr. Thornley, who had heard this astonish- 
ing announcement with perfect tranquillity. 

"If he chooses to be dying seasick, it's his own 
affair," answered Mr. Thornley unconcernedly. 
u He won't get any sympathy from me." 

" Say twenty then ! " amended Max. 

" I'd split the twenty and send half of that to Char- 
lotte. She ought to be consoled for this Lemoine 
fiasco." 

"Oh, I will! That's a dandy idea! Carlotta, you 
shall have it and it sha'n't be lemon candy either ! " 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 

MR. THORNLEY, having broken his eyeglasses, 
had retired to a darkened room. The three 
girls were gone to town with Mr. Tyler to 
get the lenses replaced, a pleasant task on so bright 
an afternoon. Convinced that St. George really pre- 
ferred to be alone with his headache, Max went with 
June in the canoe. 

Some time had elapsed since the cousins had been 
off by themselves and presently Max's thoughts re- 
turned to Mr. Lemon. In the matter of the deed, he 
and Charlotte had arrived at an impasse; perhaps 
June might have some helpful suggestion to make. 
So Max related the whole affair, with the exception of 
the unlucky letter to Mrs. Lemoine and its complete 
failure. That incident rankled a little in his memory, 
and it was so completely detached from the rest of 
the story that Max spared himself the mortification 
of confessing it. 

June was extremely interested in the tale and just 
a trifle resentful that he had not been told before. 

388 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 389 

But he was naturally too sunny to bear any grudge 
and presently was discussing most earnestly the pros 
and cons of the problem. He saw no solution that 
did not involve finding the deed, and like Charlotte, 
scouted the probability that Kitty had taken it with 
her. 

" Mr. Lemon has stowed it away somewhere," he 
declared. " I say, Max, I want a look at that place 
and at the tombstone. Can't we tie the canoe and cut 
up through the woods ? " 

Beaching the canoe in a little bayou, the boys 
started on a rough, uphill climb. There was no path 
and the underbrush grew densely, but in time they 
struck the high road not far below the path leading 
to Mr. Lemon's place. On reaching the edge of the 
clearing, they paused to reconnoitre. 

" I fancy we'd better step softly," said Max. " The 
old man chased me out with a hoe the last time I came. 
But probably he's forgotten by now. There's the 
stone against the front door." 

June stared at it curiously. The sunlight struck 
the other side of the cottage, leaving in shadow its un- 
painted front and the gray slab on the step. 

" Max ! " came a sudden exclamation. " I'll bet 
you a cooky that deed is under the stone ! " 

Max started so violently that he actually fell off the 
wall. Before he could speak, June went on. 

"If the man is crazy, that's exactly where he'd put 



390 WHEN MAX CAME 

it, and that's what he meant by saying his wife had 
it!" 

"A great head has little June!" Max declared ap- 
provingly. " I wouldn't have thought that out in a 
year. Of course it's there! How shall we get it?" 

" Anything to prevent our just walking up and look- 
ing?" inquired his cousin. 

" Well, rather ! " drawled Max. " Just remember 
you're dealing with a man who keeps a pet tombstone 
on his front doorstep. Diplomacy is called for. Let 
us be diplomatic." 

" It's up to you, then ! " June retorted with a grunt 
of combined disapproval and amusement. " Well ? " 
he inquired after a pause, during which his cousin 
seemed wrapped in thought. 

" I fancy I'm the sacrifice ! " said Max, coming out 
of his reverie. " I may be, in truth, if the old chap 
hasn't forgotten my last visit! June, I'll go around 
the house and see if he's outside and if he'll talk to 
me. It's an even chance whether he'll run me off the 
place or whether he'll sit down and spiel about Canada. 
You can hear a whistle down here. Just sit tight 
where you are. If you hear a bar or two of 'Annie 
Laurie,' sneak up to the front door and have a look. 
It'll mean he's talking with me all right." 

" Max, I'll recommend you for our next foreign 
ambassador," June commented, watching* his cousin 
slide from the wall and emerge into the clearing. As 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 391 

he approached the house, the old man appeared be- 
yond it. 

" Bon jour, Monsieur Lemoine!" Max called cheer- 
fully. "II fait beau, riest-ce-pas? Comment vous 
portez-vous? " 

June looked through the sheltering bushes with 
breathless interest. For a moment Mr. Lemon's at- 
titude seemed relentlessly stiff and uncompromising. 
Max advanced, continuing to talk voluble French, 
and presently the old man seemed to relax in vigilance, 
and evidently made a reply. The next moment the 
two turned. With apparent amiability they disap- 
peared behind the house. 

Not waiting for the promised signal, June sprang 
from his seat, hurrying noiselessly but rapidly across 
the clearing toward the front door. The long grass 
was yellowed and ripened by the sun; in fact, asters 
and goldenrod were fast crowding it from the im- 
poverished soil, but June might have walked on either 
sand or air for all he noticed. In three minutes he 
was at the door. Before investigating, he paused for 
a second. He could distinctly hear Max's pleasant 
voice, and gruff guttural tones that must belong to 
Mr. Lemon. There came a soft bar of music broken 
into a laugh. 

Reassured, June peeped behind the tombstone. It 
did not actually touch the front door, as from a dis- 
tance it appeared to do, but stood upright on a little 



392 WHEN MAX CAME 

base. Nothing whatever was on the sill behind and 
the step itself was only a big stone slab. Any con- 
cealed document must be under the base. 

Very cautiously June rested his hands on the monu- 
ment to tilt it backward. The heavy stone obliged 
him to exert considerable force. Suddenly it yielded 
unexpectedly and to his utter consternation struck the 
door behind with a thud that must have been audible 
half up Baldface! 

June gave an agonized glance under the base, jerked 
the stone back to its proper place with an energy that 
left it rocking, and fled for his life, expecting imme- 
diate pursuit. He dove for the nearest cover, for- 
tunately at the end of the house, and eventually made 
a detour to the place where Max had left him. From 
this point of vantage he looked eagerly at the cot- 
tage. All appeared as before, except that both Max 
and Mr. Lemon were now visible, standing before the 
front door. Presently June saw his cousin, turn away 
and come slowly across the grass, with no word of 
leave-taking to his companion, who did not seem to 
notice his departure. To June's surprise, Max looked 
flushed and disturbed. 

" Did you tip it into the door ? " he inquired as he 
joined June in the safe shelter of the woods. 

"I nearly knocked the blamed door in! It scared 
me out of a year's growth. Did he know what the 
row was? " 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 393 

" Not at first. He thought something fell in the 
house and went to look. Then an idea seemed to 
strike him and he rushed around the corner. You 
were out of sight so he never suspected. But the 
stone was moved just a little and the door was so 
weather-beaten that it was dented in where the top 
struck. June," Max went on, looking decidedly 
ashamed, " the poor old chap thought Kitty did it, 
that it was a warning or a message from her! I left 
because he was praying and it didn't seem right to 
listen." 

June, in his turn, looked abashed, though he had 
far less reason than Max for feeling repentant. 

" Let's not bother him any more," he said gruffly 
after a moment. " There wasn't anything under the 
stone." 

" I'm glad there wasn't ! " said his cousin unex- 
pectedly. "I feel sufficiently like a condemned crimi- 
nal already. But he told me some more about that 
cave on the mountain. His directions were so clear 
this time that I think we can find it. Let's have a 
try." 

June agreed, glad to shake off the recollection of 
their late exploit. To him as well as to Max, it 
seemed as though they had been rather too near do- 
ing something questionable. Giving the clearing and 
the cottage a wide berth, they plunged into the timber 
on Bald face. 



394 WHEN MAX CAME 

" We will keep around to the left until we find a big 
boulder poised on some rocks," said Max, translating 
from the directions he was mentally rehearsing in 
French. 

Nearly half an hour passed before the boulder was 
located, a huge mass that must have weighed several 
tons. 

" Now, from here we go straight up the mountain 
for about a quarter of a mile until we come to a cliff," 
Max directed. 

The quarter-mile seemed long to both boys for it 
was very steep, but at last they reached a cliff rising 
fifty feet or more above their heads. About a third 
of the way up its face a ledge appeared, not wide, but 
apparently offering foothold. 

" Mr. Lemon says the cave opens from that ledge. 
There should be an aiguille — a pointed rock, before 
its entrance." 

" There's the rock ! " June exclaimed, indicating a 
slender pinnacle twenty feet farther on. 

The boys soon clambered up to a wider part of the 
ledge and found themselves facing a dark hole, open- 
ing undoubtedly into a cavity of some kind. June 
produced his pocket flashlight, but unluckily, its bat- 
tery was nearly exhausted. The feeble flashes suf- 
ficed only to light the entrance for the boys to step in 
and see that the cave was fairly large, dry, and ap- 
parently quite unoccupied, even by bats, which might 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 395 

reasonably be expected. Neither had matches so all 
exploration must be postponed. Vanishing sunlight, 
too, warned them to retrace their rough path to the 
lake and find the canoe before darkness fell completely. 

As it was, they were very late for tea, reaching the 
Tyler gate just as the girls came out. 

"We've eaten everything!" Anstice announced 
calmly. w Boys who are late get only bread and 
milk." 

"Mrs. Tyler is a friend of mine!" June retorted. 
" She's killing a fatted calf for us now. Don't you 
wish you knew where we have been and what we've 
found?" 

June's question had the expected effect. The three 
girls returned at once to the dining-room and con- 
stituted themselves volunteer waitresses, pressing upon 
the boys everything the table offered, and even persuad- 
ing Sally to relent and cook the waffles she had 
declared the truants should go without. With pru- 
dent forethought, the desired information was with- 
held until neither could eat any more. 

" You've done very well ! " June announced to the 
girls when their attentions were no longer needed. 
" It's a cave, and we'll take you there to-morrow ! " 

His announcement was received with flattering in- 
terest. " Let's go to-night ! " proposed Anstice, after 
the first exclamations and questions had subsided. 
" We can carry lanterns and it will be most exciting ! " 



396 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Mother won't let us," said the calmer Charlotte. 
" And besides, we want St. George, too, and his head- 
ache has used him all up." 

" You haven't heard how we came to find it," June 
went on. " Max, it's your turn." 

Max related a discreetly edited version of his ac- 
quaintance with Mr. Lemon. It contained no refer- 
ence to Mrs. Lemoine nor to their afternoon experi- 
ment with the tombstone. That exploit lent no added 
glory to the tale. The sooner it was consigned to 
oblivion the better. Hope and Anstice derived sev- 
eral distinct thrills from Max's story, and neither 
noticed that Charlotte seemed less impressed. 

" A man who won't speak to a woman ! Will he 
even look at one? Max, I want to see him! " gasped 
Anstice. 

" I want to see the house ! " exclaimed Hope. " I'd 
be afraid of the man, but I'd like to see that tomb- 
stone." 

" You can see the stone from the edge of the clear- 
ing," said Max. " We'll show it to you, but you 
really must keep perfectly still and not let him know 
you are there. He's daffy, you know, and it would 
annoy him." 

" We'll be as still as mice," promised Anstice. 

Soon after breakfast next morning, the party 
started. At Mr. Thornley's suggestion, June took a 
lantern so as not to be wholly dependent upon flash- 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 397 

light batteries, even though new and supposedly re- 
liable. Following the familiar uphill mountain road, 
they soon reached Mr. Lemon's place, where Mr. 
Thornley and the girls were piloted for a furtive peep 
at the old cottage. Hope and Anstice were impressed 
by the earnestness with which Max insisted upon per- 
fect silence, and his evident anxiety not to have Mr. 
Lemon know of their presence. Even their high 
spirits were slightly dashed by the sense of brooding 
melancholy produced by that granite tombstone in its 
unusual setting. Their faces were decidedly serious 
as they rejoined June and Charlotte, who had waited 
in the road. Mr. Thornley seemed interested, though 
he made no comment, unless a quizzical smile di- 
rected at Max was meant to convey some subtle 
opinion. 

This time both boys were certain of landmarks and 
led the way without faltering, even avoiding some of 
the rougher ground by slight detours. All the girls 
were good trampers and did not need assistance nor a 
special pace set for them. Before long June pointed 
out the ledge on the face of the cliff. They scrambled 
up the clefts to the uneven foothold and walked gin- 
gerly along to the wider space before the cave. 

Its narrow entrance was almost concealed by the 
detached stone standing in front of it like a sentinel. 
The lantern revealed an interior perhaps twenty feet 
long and about eight feet high in the centre. Leaves 



398 WHEN MAX CAME 

and branches had drifted in but the place was singu- 
larly dry. 

The girls came in cautiously, expecting to see bones 
or other traces of animal occupancy, but all large 
beasts of prey had long since vanished from Bald face 
and there was nothing to indicate that the cave had 
ever served as a home for either man or animal. The 
only thing at all remarkable was a pile of branches 
in the farther end. 

" From its looks, this cave was worn by water," 
commented Mr. Thornley. " I fancy that ages ago, 
a river flowed through here. You see that these 
broken rocks barring the entrance are of a different 
kind of stone. That water came from somewhere. 
Perhaps there is an entrance or connection with an- 
other cave." 

The boys began to pull away the branches, reveal- 
ing a hole, low down and securely closed by a fallen 
rock. The wanderings of that prehistoric river were 
not to be divulged. June caught his foot in a crooked 
limb as he turned away, and sat down with sudden 
violence. He picked himself up, looking much sur- 
prised. 

" What on earth did I come down on so hard ? " 
he inquired, kicking aside the heap of dead leaves on 
which he had fallen. " Weil, look here! " 

The light of the lantern divulged a small metal 
trunk about two feet long, with a curved top. It was 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 399 

scarcely larger than a big despatch box. The metal 
had become discolored by time and the hinges were 
rusted apart or had been broken by June's fall. 

" Let's take it outside," he suggested. " We can 
see so much better/' 

As he spoke, June picked the little chest up bodily 
and conveyed it to the outer air. In the bright Sep- 
tember sunlight it looked dingy and battered, though 
except for the hinges, in good condition. The lock 
still held, but the loosened back permitted the lid to be 
raised. At first sight, the box appeared full of yel- 
lowed, discolored bits of cloth, once white. June 
lifted the uppermost. 

" Why, it's a baby's dress ! " Charlotte exclaimed 
in utter astonishment. 

June dropped the small garment, too amazed for 
any words. "Well! did I ever!" he finally ejac- 
ulated. 

Charlotte reached over his shoulder and picked up 
in succession three or four more carefully folded 
small garments, a very tiny pair of red leather ankle- 
ties and a tin rattle. At the bottom was placed an 
old plaid shawl. Upon it lay a cheap, colored print 
of the Virgin Mother. 

The gay party seemed struck speechless. Yielded 
ever a treasure chest contents so strange? 

"Well!" said June at last. "Of all the queer 
things ! Where did they come from? " 



4 oo WHEN MAX CAME 

" No baby wears clothes like those now," Hope re- 
marked. " See, the little dresses are low-necked and 
short-sleeved. They must be quite old. I never saw 
any like them." 

" They're made like a dress Mother wore when she 
was a baby," Anstice added. 

" Max ! " Charlotte almost screamed. " This is 
Mr. Lemon's cave ! Those things belong to Kitty and 
the baby!" 

" Right you are, Charlotte ! " June exclaimed, while 
Max, without a word, seized the trunk and turned it 
upside down. 

"Oh, there must be some papers somewhere!" he 
gasped in excitement. "Of course they belong to 
them! He put them here when Kitty went away. 
Look again in the clothes ! That deed must be here ! " 

The girls began to shake vigorously the scattered 
garments. From the folded shawl fell at once a small 
packet of papers. Max absolutely snatched them 
from Anstice's hands. 

" Here we are ! " he exclaimed, with fingers that 
trembled as they struggled with the rawhide strip that 
bound the documents. " Three of them ! One must 
be the deed ! " 

He opened the first paper hastily. June seized an- 
other and Charlotte the third. One glance showed 
it to be in French and she turned quickly to Mr. Thorn- 
ley. 




Here we are ! Three of them ! One must be the deed ! " 
Page 400. 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 401 

" Oh, look ! It has a red seal and signatures ! " 

No less interested than the excited young people, 
Mr. Thornley took the folded paper, while Charlotte 
looked eagerly from him to Max, whose expression 
changed from interest to perplexity and then to dis- 
appointment. 

" This is a letter written in English," said June, 
over whose shoulders both Hope and Anstice were 
leaning. " It is from James Marshall to Pierre Le- 
moine and just appoints a date when he wants to be 
met at Chicoutimi." 

Max threw his document into the little chest and 
turned to scrutinize eagerly the one Mr. Thornley 
held. A glance sufficed. 

" Oh, this is too much ! " he exclaimed in disgust 
a moment later. Anstice hajd picked up the discarded 
paper and was examining it curiously. 

" What is it ? " she asked, unable to make head or 
tail of its unfamiliar French, but deciphering the 
names of Pierre Lemoine and Catherine Thibault. 

" Only their marriage certificate ! " Max replied 
rather sulkily, for his disappointment was keen. 

Mr. Thornley folded the paper he still held and took 
off his eyeglasses with great deliberation. His face 
wore a smile that was at once half -sympathetic and 
half -amused. 

" And this," he remarked to the expectant girls, 
" is a license to one Pierre Lemoine, guide and trap- 



4 02 WHEN MAX CAME 

per, to hunt and fish in certain localities in the pro- 
vince of Quebec! " 

"And the deed isn't here?" demanded Anstice. 

"Apparently not! " replied Mr. Thornley, watching 
the boys examine the little trunk as though they sus- 
pected it of possessing a false bottom or secret com- 
partment. 

" I wonder why Mr. Lemon put those things up 
here," commented Hope. 

" I think that is quite plain," Mr. Thornley an- 
swered thoughtfully. " After his wife left him, he took 
the things that reminded him of her and stored them 
in this cave. Perhaps he was the only person who knew 
of its existence. He has probably forgotten the box, 
but some memory must remain, and so he spoke of 
the cave to Max, without knowing why he did so." 

" What shall we do with this stuff? " June inquired. 

" Let's put it all back," said Charlotte, kneeling 
before the trunk as she spoke. The pathos of those 
tiny garments touched a responsive chord in her heart. 
A sudden vision of that unhappy girl-mother came to 
her as with deft hands she re- folded the dresses and 
packed them away. 

" That's certainly the best thing to do," said Mr. 
Thornley with an appreciative smile for the spray of 
asters Charlotte tucked away with the little white 
gown. 

The boys took the lantern and searched in vain for 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 403 

another box or package concealed in the cave. Much 
disappointed, they replaced the chest under the heap 
of branches. 

"All the same I am sure that deed is somewhere! " 
Max declared as they started home again. " I must 
think up a way to get into Mr. Lemon's house and 
have a look ! " 

"Max, you'll do nothing of the sort!" remarked 
Mr. Thornley quietly but with a certain finality in his 
tone. " To make any further search, even about the 
outside of his house, is entirely unjustifiable. The 
poor old man has been sufficiently annoyed and worried 
as it is." 

Max's color rose at this rebuke. June, who knew 
nothing of his cousin's previous interference with 
Mr. Lemon, looked surprised. He supposed Mr. 
Thornley to be entirely in the dark as to their inves- 
tigations. 

"Even if this deed exists, — which I very much 
doubt, — Mr. Lemon is in no condition mentally to 
assume the responsibility involved if it should be 
found. He seems to have enough to live upon and 
probably would be unhappier under changed circum- 
stances than he is at present. Personally, I think his 
story is a figment of his imagination, something he 
has brooded over until it seems real to him. But 
since the matter has so interested you, Max," Mr. 
Thornley went on less seriously, " it is quite possible 



4 04 WHEN MAX CAME 

that your father, when he hears the story, may be 
willing to have Mr. Ames ascertain if such a deed was 
ever recorded.' , 

"There really isn't anything to be done, then?" 
Charlotte asked after a pause. 

" Nothing very definite. It may be that Mr. Mar- 
shall, if he knew the story and your theories about 
Mr. Lemon, would be interested in his father's old 
guide. Very possibly he himself has been with him 
as a boy. To tell Mr. Marshall seems to me the only 
step that is at all advisable. He may know something 
of the place Mr. Lemon came from and the chances 
of finding old friends or even relatives for him. I 
think, Max, it would be a good plan for you to write 
the rest of the story to Mr. Ames; tell him of the 
cave and the little chest and the letter from Mr. Mar- 
shall to Pierre Lemoine. Then, if Mr. Ames thinks 
Mr. James Marshall likely to be interested, allow him 
to use his discretion in passing on the tale just as it 
stands. I should leave it entirely to Mr. Ames. In 
that way, your desire to help Mr. Lemon may be real- 
ized, and it seems to be the only permissible way." 

" All right, St. George ! " answered Max, evidently 
with an effort, for he was both mortified and disap- 
pointed. " Well, this ends the affair of Pierre 
Lemoine, otherwise Pete Lemon!" 

" If Mr. Ames or Mr. Marshall ever does anything, 
you must be sure to tell us," said June. 



THE LAST OF MR. LEMON 405 

" I'll give Mr. Ames your address. Then, if he 
wants to ask any questions about the cave or the things 
in the chest, he can hear more quickly than he could 
from me." 

" It's been very interesting," said Charlotte thought- 
fully. Hope and Anstice, their attention no longer 
held by Mr. Lemon's affairs, had gone ahead. " But 
the most interesting part of all is what we shall never 
know." 

" You mean about Kitty and why she took the 
baby? " asked Mr. Thornley. 

" Yes, and why Mr. Lemon put the things in the 
trunk and hid them in the cave. And the stone 
against the door and those little red shoes and what 
has become of the baby who wore them," Charlotte 
added simply. 

" That's true," said Mr. Thornley, " but, Charlotte, 
some stories are best left untold. We can appreciate 
the pathos of this one as it stands, and perhaps it is 
just as well that we can't read the entire tragedy, for 
tragedy it must have been. I think, on the whole, we 
are fortunate that we must leave it just where it is." 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE END OF THE SUMMER 

THE last days of a vacation, however happy, 
hold always quite as much of sadness as of 
joy. So many good times have been shared 
that the words " Do you remember? " or " What fun 
we had that day ! " come frequently to one's lips and 
bring with them a little, lingering feeling of regret. 

The special parting now at hand seemed even harder 
when the ocean was again to roll between the cousins 
who had grown so fond of one another. Everybody's 
spirits drooped the last afternoon as they gathered on 
the cottage piazza, hesitating to suggest any diver- 
sion that might cause the least separation of their 
party. 

" I wish we were all leaving at the same time," 
said Hope rather mournfully. " It will be terribly 
lonesome without Max, now we've had him so long." 

" Who knows but Max may be with us another sum- 
mer ! " declared her mother cheerily. 

Pleasant as was the suggestion, Max looked doubt- 
ful. Going to college meant leaving his father, and 

no vacation plan could be tempting enough to make 

406 



END OF THE SUMMER 407 

that inevitable parting come one moment earlier than 
was absolutely necessary. 

" Auntie, you'd better come to us next year," he 
finally suggested. " I don't know what Dad is going 
to do, but it's sure to be interesting. I shouldn't 
wonder if he'd be writing, and if he is, we would just 
settle down quietly somewhere. There's a little Swiss 
village near the Matterhorn where we were one sum- 
mer. I've always wanted to go back for it's a dandy 
place to climb mountains and June and Hope and I 
could have no end of fun tramping. As for Molly, 
she could find a new place to get lost every five 
minutes if she liked. Say you'll come, Auntie!" 

" Wouldn't that be great ! " exclaimed June. 

" I think Max will have to consult his father be- 
fore we agree to that plan," replied Mrs. Ralston, 
smiling at the young people clustered below her on 
the porch steps. 

" Dad would be delighted," Max went on eagerly. 
" He'd invite you all in a minute if he thought you'd 
really come. Do say you will, Auntie ! " 

" I can't make any promises, Max, but it will do no 
harm for us to plan for another summer together 
somewhere. It is easier for you and your father to 
come to us, you see." 

" Why couldn't Uncle Rod work here ? " asked June. 
" We could fix him a study in the barn. It's never 
used and it wouldn't be half bad." 



4 o8 WHEN MAX CAME 

" He always has to have stacks of books," observed 
Max. " Still, they could be sent from Boston. 
We'll see! I'm obliged to have Dad next summer, 
whatever happens, but I want Aunt Helen, too ! We'll 
strike a combination somehow. But it would be such 
fun to have you all in Switzerland. We'd have the 
jolliest time! And Uncle George could come for a 
while. Look at Mr. Tyler — what's he so togged out 
for?" 

Mr. Tyler, appearing very uncomfortable in a high 
collar and his Sunday suit, had pulled his horse to a 
stand before the cottage. 

" I'm going to Rockland on business," he explained, 
" and I'm afraid I won't get back to-morrow before 
you folks leave, so I stopped to say good-by to Max 
and Mr. Thornley." 

June went to call Mr. Thornley and the others 
gathered around the carriage. 

" Max, I hope we'll see you another summer," Mr. 
Tyler concluded with a final handshake. " There's 
nobody round here who's likely to forget the boy who 
went through the brier swamp. I'm mighty glad you 
balanced that exploit by trying to burn up Baldface! " 

With this parting thrust, the jolly farmer drove 
away, leaving a laughing group behind him. 

" Mr. Tyler will never forget that little perform- 
ance ! " grinned June. " He takes solid comfort in 
thinking of it." 



END OF THE SUMMER 409 

"I'm willing!" declared Max. " And now I pro- 
pose to have that bout at tennis with St. George. If 
I can only win a set from him, my summer will be 
complete." 

Mr. Thornley smiled. He had already vanquished 
June, though not with absolute ease. Hope, too, had 
given him a good game, for she played nearly as well 
as her brother. 

" I've an idea that this will be my Waterloo, but you 
shall have your chance, Max. I choose Hope for my 
umpire." 

" Carlotta for me ! " announced Max. " She and 
Nan are just coming." 

" With two judges this contest should proceed 
formally and in good order, but I'm not sure that it's 
fair to have both umpires Americans! Consider the 
feelings of a poor lone Englishman! " 

" Max himself is more than half English," teased 
June. 

" I'm not ! " his cousin began indignantly, but 
stopped with an expressive shrug of the shoulders. 
" I don't know what I am! " he went on rather help- 
lessly. " I have so many friends in different countries. 
But of course I'm an American — I only happen to 
have lived somewhere else." 

" And Max's English education hasn't changed his 
nationality — merely its external finish," said Mr. 
Thornley mischievously. " Hope, I'm very willing to 



4 io WHEN MAX CAME 

confide my fortunes to your umpiring. Shall we be- 
gin ?" 

The entire party adjourned to the edge of the tennis 
court to watch the game and to laugh over Mr. Thorn- 
ley's elaborate preparations. With great ceremony he 
removed his coat, examined the soles of his canvas 
shoes, and coming up to Max, took his racquet to com- 
pare it carefully with his own. 

" It's exactly the same ! " said Max as he gravely 
measured the handles. 

" War to the bitter end then ! " replied Mr. Thorn- 
ley as he returned the racquet and shook hands across 
the net. 

The first chance to serve fell to Max who won the 
game. 

" Apparently this whole crowd of spectators is 
against me," commented Mr. Thornley in amusement 
at the applause that greeted the victory. 

" You'll get this one ! " laughed Max, for he knew 
his opponent's smashing delivery, and promptly lost 
two balls. 

" One-all ! " he called as he again came to the service 
line, and so the game went on, hotly contested, till 
the score was three-all and Mr. Thornley had the 
advantage. Max, in rushing to return a ball, tripped 
over a loose shoe-lace, missed his stroke and only by 
wild contortions, saved himself from falling. 



END OF THE SUMMER 411 

" That was because your shoe was undone, Max. 
Sorry! Here's another." 

"No, you don't! I won't take it, St. George. If 
you send it, I won't hit it ! " 

Mr. Thornley smiled and tossed over the extra balls. 

" Oh, I hope Max wins ! " said Anstice, dancing up 
and down in excitement. " Do beat him, Max ! " 

" It is fortunate that I've chosen an umpire for 
myself," declared Mr. Thornley. " I trust Hope, at 
least, doesn't wish to see me ingloriously beaten." 

Both were playing their vigorous best and the score 
mounted first on one side and then on the other. At 
last the reckoning was six-seven in favor of Mr. 
Thornley, and the game score was deuce. 

" Max, you must get this ball ! " shouted June. 
" Give him a daisy-cutter ! " 

The ball struck in the extreme corner of the court 
and Mr. Thornley, thinking it was going outside, made 
no attempt to return it. A chorus of inquiries went 
up from the spectators. " It was in ! Wasn't it in ? 
Wasn't it?" 

Mr. Thornley looked at Hope. " Personally, I am 
not quite sure. Was it out or in, Hope? " 

" It was out ! " announced Hope, glad to decide in 
his behalf. 

Charlotte, who had not seen, yielded the point, but 
Max won the game after all, and by continued strenu- 



4 i2 WHEN MAX CAME 

cms exertion, brought the score to nine-eight in his 
favor. Mr. Thornley was growing tired, for he was 
somewhat out of practice and the playing had 
been energetic. Max, however, was merely getting 
warmed up to the game, and presently, by swift serv- 
ing and skilful volleying gained the advantage. The 
next instant, Mr. Thornley threw up his racquet amid 
the shouts of the onlookers. 

" Oh, St. George ! " gasped Max, hot and breath- 
less, with hair on end. " You didn't give me that 
last ball, did you?" 

" That was a square deal, Max. I played the game 
fairly and you earned your victory," replied Mr. 
Thornley cordially as he again came up to the net to 
grasp the outstretched hand of his successful late antag- 
onist. 

" If I only knew where Ronald was, I'd send him a 
cablegram!" shouted impetuous Max. "I wonder if 
I shall ever beat you again ! " 

" Many times in all probability. Good work, Max ! 
I shouldn't wonder if you could beat Ronald this fall, 
and I want to see that contest. You've improved, and 
of course you are older and stronger than when we 
last played together in Rome." 

Mr. Thornley went to his room to prepare for tea, 
for since he and Max were leaving the next day, Mrs. 
Ralston had planned to have it at the gray cottage. 
Max was delayed while dressing and the others had 



END OF THE SUMMER 413 

been seated some moments before he appeared in the 
dining-room, 

" Oh — h ! " he said, looking around. " Oh, I don't 
like to think that this is the last evening ! We've had 
so many good times here." 

" Now, sonny," remarked June, " just put on your 
bib and move your chair up to the table." 

Max grinned and gave his cousin a fraternal slap 
on the back of the head. It was merely a passing 
pleasantry and would have done no harm had June 
not chanced to be drinking chocolate. The cup flew 
from his hand and its contents deluged the immediate 
vicinity. 

"Great Scott!" he exclaimed, staring at the drip- 
ping table-cloth. " You kid, just see what you've 
done!" 

Max was divided between a desire to laugh and con- 
sternation at the ruin he had wrought. Mr. Thorn- 
ley adjusted his eyeglasses to survey the havoc and 
shook his head with mock solemnity. 

" Max," he remarked with deliberation, " if such 
discipline is known in New England, I hope your 
aunt will send you from the table ! " 

The young people all laughed at his comical tone. 
Max rose, walked around to Mrs. Ralston's place and 
went down on his knees before her. His eyes were 
brimming with mischief, but his demeanor was meek- 
ness itself. 



414 WHEN MAX CAME 

" Auntie, a nation of cannibals would consider my 
manners a disgrace to +hem! If you say so, I'll go 
straight to bed without my supper! " 

" Indeed, you shall not ! " protested his aunt, kissing 
him. "What is a little spilled chocolate? Not half 
so bad as broken bones or injured feelings ! We will 
just take off this table-cloth. Each shall move the 
dishes nearest, and in two minutes everything will be 
fresh again.'' 

Within the time specified, a clean cloth was sub- 
stituted and the supper proceeded, made even merrier 
by Max's mishap. Mr. Thornley seemed determined 
that the evening should be gay, and it was not until 
the entire party, with the exception of Molly and her 
mother, had escorted Charlotte and Anstice home, that 
any note of regret crept into the fun. 

" What shall we all be doing a month from now? " 
remarked June as they sauntered back. 

" I know what I'll be doing," replied his cousin. 
" I'll be in Rome, feeling as blue as the Carpathian 
mountains for you and Hope and Auntie and Molly." 

" Probably having a most hilarious time with Con- 
nie, Louis, and Ronald," commented Mr. Thornley 
dryly. The others laughed and Max sighed. 

11 St. George is death on sentiment and no mistake ! 
I know exactly what I'll be doing. Ronald will be 
working out geometry problems so fast that the chalk 
will be red-hot, just sizzling! Louis will rattle off 



END OF THE SUMMER 415 

Greek verbs at such a rate that I'll feel like the tail of 
a kite trying to keep up. St. George will have on his 
mortar board and gown and be eying me in a way 
that will strike me as painfully familiar, and presently 
he'll tell me to stay after class. Then I'll get a lec- 
ture I've heard before about its being better to com- 
mit murder than be lazy ! " 

"Max, I never told you that!" Mr. Thornley ex- 
postulated. 

" I know you never said it in so many words," ac- 
knowledged Max, " but I deduced it very logically 
from remarks you have made. People who commit 
murder usually sin from impulse. Laziness is a moral 
defect of will. Impulsive sins are more pardonable 
than wilful ones. Therefore: it is less sinful to be 
wicked than to be lazy ! " 

" Max, if you'd expend a little more energy over 
your Greek verbs and less in deducing erroneous con- 
clusions from false premises, you wouldn't be kept 
after class." 

" I suppose so," Max admitted frankly, " but Greek 
is a perfect blight on my existence. As soon as Dad 
gets back to Rome, I am going to spend one hour and 
eleven minutes by the clock imploring him to say I 
needn't study it any more. He will probably stick 
out the hour, but I have hopes that the eleven extra 
minutes will finish him! I never have succeeded yet 
in coaxing him to let me drop it, but he'll be so glad 



4 i6 WHEN MAX CAME 

to see me that he won't wish to take the first bloom 
off my joy at his return. I think I'll meet him at the 
station with my face white with chalk dust and a 
Greek grammar bound about my pallid brow." 

They had reached the gray cottage and Mr. Thorn- 
ley stopped to knock the ashes from his pipe. 

" ' Everybody dead who spoke it ; 
Everybody dead who wrote it; 
Everybody dies who learns it. 
Happy death ! they surely earn it ! ' " 

he quoted solemnly. 

" I know it ! " Max interrupted. " I'm convinced 
that thousands of boys have died because they had to 
study Greek! But just wait till I get hold of my 
dad!" 

Mr. Thornley smiled mischievously. " I very much 
doubt whether you will succeed in coaxing your dad 
to let you drop it. Do you remember that tragedy 
you were writing the last term you were in school, 
on Rome in the days of Nero ? " 

" Yes ! And you took it away from me because I 
wouldn't do my geometry! You never gave it back 
either ! " exclaimed Max rather resentfully. 

" I assure you that I had no intention of keeping 
it permanently! I forgot to return it when school 
closed. What I started to tell you was that this 
spring, when your father after leaving you with the 
Lisles, came back to Rome, I found that unfinished 



END OF THE SUMMER 417 

tragedy in my desk and showed it to him. He perused 
it with earnest attention. Then he made one remark. 
1 Christopher,' said he, ' when Maxfield returns to 
school this autumn, I want you to put him through 
the stiffest possible course of mathematics and Greek 
prose ! ' " 

Max's confusion was covered by the amused laugh- 
ter of his cousins. " I see my finish ! " he finally said. 
" But I'll tell Dad just what I think of him for read- 
ing that before I had a chance to finish it." 

" When you see it again, you may not think it worth 
finishing. Really, Max, between your literary aspira- 
tions, and the sketches Ronald was drawing for his 
crazy plantation scheme, and the aeroplane Louis was 
trying to invent, I had a hard time that winter! I'm 
thankful you're all two years older now ! " 

June and Mr. Thornley went into the house, but 
Hope stopped in the doorway, casting a troubled 
glance at her cousin, who had paused a few paces* down 
the path to take a last look at the moonlit lake. 

" Max," she demanded suddenly, " were you really 
trying to write a tragedy ? " 

" Oh, it didn't amount to much. The subject was 
too big for me to handle. You see what Dad thought 
of it. Why, Hope, what's the matter?"' 

"Everything!" exploded poor Hope. "I've al- 
ways wanted to write books! But June doesn't care 
so much about trying. It's the one thing in the world 



418 WHEN MAX CAME 

I want most to do and I made him be interested just 
because we always share things. All last winter we 
planned to make a play this summer, and then June 
put it off because he thought it wasn't anything you'd 
like ! I cared so much that it hurt me dreadfully be- 
cause he wouldn't. To think we might have done it 
after all! You'd have been interested, and it would 
have helped me so much to know how you managed 
yours and with both of us working on it, June would 
have enjoyed it too! " 

Hope's lament ended in a kind of wail as she leaned 
tragically against the door. 

" Oh, Hope!" Max exclaimed in genuine distress. 
" How I wish I'd known ! Why, I can't remember 
the time when I haven't been scribbling! Connie and 
I are always trying to do a play or a story. Dad 
poked fun at that tragedy, but he's always interested 
in my things and sometimes he likes them. But I 
didn't want you and June to think me a complete freak, 
so I cut it all out this summer, except that sometimes 
I scribbled a little when you thought me writing let- 
ters. Well, this is worse than the mess I made of 
Mr. Lemon's affairs ! " 

Hope was struggling between tears and laughter, 
but Max's final despairing wave of his hands turned 
the scale. She choked down her sobs. 

" You aren't the only one who's ' messed ' things," 



END OF THE SUMMER 419 

she declared pluckily. " I guess we both need another 
chance, and perhaps we'll have it next vacation." 

" We'll begin in a different style. It's taken us 
most of this to get shaken down together, but that's 
done, once and for all, isn't it, Hope? " 

His cousin nodded. "Indeed, it is!" she agreed 
bravely. 

" I don't wonder you thought I'd butted in between 
you and June," Max went on. " I understand now 
several things that I didn't before." 

"Look here!" interrupted June from the hall. 
" What is Max tearing his hair about? " 

"Merely deploring my wasted life!" retorted his 
cousin so quickly that Hope was overcome with hys- 
terical mirth. " Hope, it's a shame ! " he added in a 
hasty whisper. " But I'm sure in the summer that's 
coming to us, we'll be all the better friends because 
we've rubbed off our square corners during this one. 
And the three of us together will write a play that 
will make the Atlantic ocean turn blue with admira- 
tion!" 

"Your wasted life?" June repeated lazily, appear- 
ing behind Hope in the doorway. " You've learned 
one thing this summer, and that's to pitch a decent ball. 
I never expect you'll acknowledge that baseball is a 
better game than cricket, but I'd be perfectly willing 
now to back you for the All America! " 



4 2o WHEN MAX CAME 

" Thanks ! " Max laughed. " You can't get a rise 
out of me with that compliment! But if I want to 
raise a first-class shindy when I get back to Rome, I'll 
only have to play ball in your style. All the fellows 
will land on me at once. It's different in different 
places, you see ! " 

"Yes, I see!" drawled June. "I reckon I've 
learned something, too. When you first unpacked 
your trunk and fished out for your summer reading 
all that stuff in German and Italian and even some 
assorted poetry, I did think a pretty serious frost had 
struck little June. It looked as though he had fallen 
upon evil days. But then you promptly began to 
illumine my path with the fitful light of preserved 
foxes and poltergeists and dictionary English! Even 
your scientific study of American girls — " 

June got no further for Max promptly tackled him. 
Hope stood watching the figures as they wrestled on 
the moonlit lawn until her brother, still the stronger, 
succeeded in getting his cousin down. Then, not wait- 
ing to hear the terms of peace proclaimed, she went in. 
A fragrant breeze seemed to have blown across her 
summer, sweeping before it all that was unpleasant, 
leaving still some things to regret, but nothing now 
that hurt. She could even smile in sympathy as she 
listened to the frolic on the lawn, prolonged until the 
boys subsided at last into their cots under the apple 
tree. 



END OF THE SUMMER 421 

The holiday feeling lasted next day during the 
drive to town, but as the sea began to shimmer in the 
distance, only the combined efforts of June and Mr. 
Thornley served to keep up the spirits of the party. 

" Auntie," whispered Max as he sat next Mrs. Ral- 
ston in the drug-store where he had insisted on stop- 
ping for ices. " I've a lump in my throat bigger than 
a whale and if you don't smile, I'm afraid I shall 
blubber!" 

Max's pun was entirely unintentional, but it made 
his aunt almost hysterical. 

" Oh, I'll smile, dear Max! " she said at last, " but 
I do so want to keep you always ! You won't forget 
me, will you ? " 

" Forget? " Max repeated. " Auntie, how could 
one forget? " 

As the buckboard reached the pier, the steamer for 
Boston was just coming in and time for farewells was 
brief. Hope's eyes were full as her cousin kissed 
her. 

" Hope," he said quickly in her ear, " after the boat 
starts, watch, for there will be a wireless message 
especially for you." 

Max and Mr. Thornley disappeared in the crowd 
that was boarding the steamer, emerging presently 
on the upper deck to make their way to the rail. As 
the propeller churned the water and the boat began 
to move, Max drew a small object from his pocket. 



422 WHEN MAX CAME 

He threw it to the watchers on the wharf, but mis- 
calculated the speed of the moving steamer. Striking 
a post, it dropped into the water. 

" Why is Max firing a lemon?" demanded June. 
" That's not complimentary ! Did we neglect to teach 
him this summer what they mean? " 

June's question remained at the moment unan- 
swered, for the distance between the shore and the 
boat was rapidly increasing. Mr. Thornley was wav- 
ing his cap, but Max, also with uncovered head, im- 
pulsively stretched both hands toward his aunt with 
a gesture so expressive of love and regret that she 
was forced to hide her face. When she could again 
see distinctly, her nephew was vigorously responding 
to the fluttering handkerchiefs of the girls. 

Slowly the steamer dwindled into the distance and 
as the figures on deck grew indistinguishable, Anstice 
peered solemnly into the soapy water washing the 
piles. 

" There's a perfectly good lemon wasted ! " she an- 
nounced. " Oh ! " she added with a sudden accession 
of interest in her voice, " he's made a pig of it ! Look 
at its legs and its curly tail ! I do wish we could reach 
it ! Why, it's my Ford picnic pig ! " 

" So it is ! " June agreed. " I'd get it for you if 
I could, Nan. No doubt it was meant for you." 

" It was meant for all of us ! " Anstice shrieked in 
delight. " It's a wireless message for everybody ! 



END OF THE SUMMER 423 

The pig for me ! A lemon — that's for Charlotte be- 
cause of Mr. Lemon! " 

" And Max meant June to catch it to show how he's 
learned to pitch! " Hope volunteered eagerly. 

" But what is there for you and Mother?" June 
inquired, still staring at the bobbing lemon. 

" I've received my message," Mrs. Ralston replied 
gently. " There is a narrow ribbon tied to the pig's 
tail. That probably has some significance." 

" So it has ! " grinned June triumphantly. " Blue ! 
That's for Hope!" 

Charlotte and Anstice joined in his exclamations of 
amusement over Max's ingenious farewell, but Hope, 
though she also looked with a smile after the now dis- 
tant steamer, understood that her share of the " wire- 
less " meant more than a clever play upon her name. 



THE END 




FOUR GORDONS 

By EDNA A. BROWN 

Illustrated Large 12mo Decorated Cover $1.50 

T OUISE and her three brothers are the " Four 

J— • Gordons," and the story relates their ex- 
periences at home and school during the absence 
of their parents for a winter in Italy. There 
is plenty of fun and frolic, with skating, coast- 
ing, dancing, and a jolly Christmas visit. The 
conversation is bright and natural, the book 
presents no improbable situations, its atmos- 
phere is one of refinement, and it has the merit 
of depicting simple and wholesome comradeship 
between boys and girls. 

" The story and its telling are worthy of Miss Al- 
cott. Young folks of both sexes will enjoy it." — 
N. r. Sun. 

•' It is a hearty, wholesome story of youthful life 
in which the morals are nrver explained but simply 
illustrated by logical results." — Christian Register. 

UNCLE DAVID'S BOYS 

By EDNA A. BROWN 

Illustrated by John Goss 12mo Cloth 
Price, Net, $1.00 Postpaid, $1.10 

THIS tells how some young people whom cir- 
cumstances brought together in a little moun- 
tain village spent a summer vacation, full of good 
times, but with some unexpected and rather mys- 
terious occurrences. In the end, more than one 
head was required to find out exactly what was 
going on. The story is a wholesome one with a 
pleasant, well-bred atmosphere, and though it 
holds the interest, it never approaches the sensa- 
tional nor passes the bounds of the probable. 

"A story which will hold the attention of youthful 
readers from cover to cover and prove not without its 
interest for older readers." — Evening Wisconsin. 

"For those young people who like a lively story 
with some unmistakably old fashioned characteristics, 
• Uncle David's Boys,' will have a strong appeal." — 
Churchman. 




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U. S. SERVICE SERIES 

By FRANCIS ROLT-WHEELER 

Illustrations from photographs taken in work for U. S. Government 
Large 12mo Cloth $1.50 per volume 

"There are no better books for boys than Francis Rolt-Wheeler's 



U. S. Service Series. : 



■Chicago Record-Herald. 




THE BOY WITH THE U. S. SURVEY 

THIS story describes the thrilling advent- 
ures of members of the U. S. Geological 
Survey, graphically woven into a stirring 
narrative that both pleases and instructs. The 
author enjoys an intimate acquaintance with 
the chiefs of the various bureaus in Washing- 
ton, and is able to obtain at first hand the 
material for his books. 

•« There is abundant charm and vigor in the 
narrative which is sure to please the boy readers 
and will do much toward stimulating their patriot- 
ism by making them alive to the needs of conser- 
vation of the vast resources of their country." — 
Chicago News. 

THE BOY WITH THE U. S. FORESTERS 

THE life of a typical boy is followed in all its adventurous detail — the 
mighty representative of our country's government, though young in 
years — a youthful monarch in a vast domain of forest. Replete with 
information, alive with adventure, and inciting patriotism at every step, 
this handsome book is one to be instantly appreciated. 

" It is a fascinating romance of real life in our country, and will prove a great 
pleasure and inspiration to the boys who read it." — The Continent, Chicago. 

THE BOY WITH THE U. S. CENSUS 

THROUGH the experiences of a bright American boy, the author shows 
how the necessary information is gathered. The securing of this of- 
ten involves hardship and peril, requiring journeys by dog-team in the 
frozen North and by launch in the alligator-filled Everglades of FJorida, 
while the enumerator whose work lies among the dangerous criminal 
classes of the greater cities must take his life in his own hands. 

•• Every young man should read this story from cover to cover, thereby getting 
a clear conception of conditions as they exist to-day, for such knowledge will have 
a clean, invigorating and healthy influence on the young growing and thinking 
mind." — Boston Globe. 

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THE BOY CRAFTSriAN 

Practical and Profitable Ideas for a Boy's 
Leisure Hours 

By A. NEELY HALL 

Illustrated with over 400 diagrams and 
working drawings 8vo Price, net, $1.60 
Postpaid, $1.82 

17 VERY real boy wishes to design and make 
*— ' things, but the questions of materials and 
tools are often hard to get around. Nearly all 
books on the subject call for a greater outlay of 
money than is within the means of many boys, 
or their parents wish to expend in such ways. 
In this book a number of chapters give sugges- 
tions for carrying on a small business that will 
bring a boy in money with which to buy tools 
and materials necessary for making apparatus 
and articles described in other chapters, while 
the ideas are so practical that many an industrious boy can learn what he 
is best fitted for in his life work. No work of its class is so completely 
up-to-date or so worthy in point of thoroughness and avoidance of danger. 
The drawings are profuse and excellent, and every feature of the book is 
first-class. It tells how to make a boy's workshop, how to handle tools, 
and what can be made with them; how to start a printing shop and con- 
duct an amateur newspaper, how to make photographs, build a log cabin, 
a canvas canoe, a gymnasium, a miniature theatre, and many other things 
dear to the soul of youth. 

We cannot imagine a more delightful present for a boy tfcan this book.— 
Churchman, N. T. 

Every boy should have this book. It's a practical book — it gets right next to 
the boy's heart and stays there. He will have it near him all the time, and on every 
pag-e there is a lesson or something that will stand the boy in good need. Beyond 
a doubt in its line this is one of the cleverest books on the market. — Providence 
News. 

If a boy has any sort of a mechanical turn of mind, his parents should see that 
tie has this book — Boston Journal. 

This is a book that will do boys good. — Buffalo Express. 

The boy who will not find this book a Jiine of joy and profit must be queer!? 
constituted. — Pittsburgh Gazette. 

Will be a delight to the boy mechanic. — Watchman, Boston 

An admirable book to give a boy. — Newark News. 

This Dook is the best yet offered for its large number of practical and profitably 
Ideas. — Milwaukee Free Press. 

Parents ought to know ot this book. -New York Globe. 



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HANDICRAFT FOR HANDY BOYS 

Practical Plans for Work and Play with 
Many Ideas for Earning Money 

By A. NEELY HALL 

Author of "The Boy Craftsman" 

With Nearly 600 Illustrations and Working-drawings by 

the Author and Norman P. Hall 8vo Cloth 

Net, $2.00 Postpaid, $2.25 

THIS book is intended for boys who 
want the latest ideas for making 
things, practical plans for earning money, 
up-to-date suggestions for games and 
sports, and novelties for home and school 
entertainments. 

The author has planned the suggestions 
on an economical basis, providing for the 
use of the things at hand, and many of 
the things which can be bought cheaply. 
Mr. Hall's books have won the confi- 
dence of parents, who realize that in 
giving them to their boys they are pro* 
viding wholesome occupations which will 
encourage self-reliance and resourceful- 
ness, and discourage tendencies to be extravagant. 

Outdoor and indoor pastimes have been given equal attention, and 
much of the work is closely allied to the studies of the modern grammar 
and high schools, as will be seen by a glance at the following list of 
subjects, which are only a few among those discussed in the 500 pages of 
text : 

Manual Training -, Easily-made Furniture; Fitting up a 
Boy's Room; Home-made Gymnasium Apparatus; A Boy's 
Wireless Telegraph Outfit; Coasters and Bob-sleds; 
Model Aeroplanes; Pushmobiles and Other Home-made 
Wagons; A Castle Clubhouse and Home-made Armor. 

Modern ingenious work such as the above cannot fail to develop 
mechanical ability in a boy, and this book will get right next to his heart. 

" The book is a treasure house for bovs who like to work with tools and have 
a purpose in their working." — Sprin.gfi.elcl Union, 

" It is a capital book for boys since it encourages them in wholesome, useful 
occupation, encourages self-reliance and resourcefulness and at the same thne 
discourages extravagance." — Brooklyn Times. 

" It is all in this book, and if anything has got away from the author we do 
not know what it is." — Buffalo Nezus. 

For sale by all booksellers, or sent on receipt 0/ 
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ST. DUNS TAN SERIES 

By WARREN L. ELDRED 
Illustrated Large 12mo Cloth $1.50 each 



THE CRiriSON RAflBLERS 

UTVE close friends in the freshman class at St. Dunstan's school, and a 
* teacher of the best sort, plan for a summer vacation in camp in Maine. 
They adopt the name which gives the title to the book, and having gone 
to Boston by water, complete their journey on foot, with plenty of adven- 
tures along the way. 

CAHP ST. DUNSTAN 

A TYPICAL summer camp for boys, with all its interesting routine, is 
•**■ described in connection with the story. Interesting new characters 
are introduced, a mystery develops, and every element of a good boy's 
story is present. 

CLASSROOM AND CAHPUS 

A GROUP of likely lads entering upon the second year at " St. Dun- 
stan's" are led to believe that things might be much better at their 
school if there were a higher standard of student honor and obligation, 
and these active, vigorous boys work wonders in school sentiment. 

ST. DUNSTAN BOY SCOUTS 

THERE are no better stories for boys than 
the really clean tales of school life, and 
the boys of the school called l 'St. Dunstan " 
in this series are types of the best sort of Amer- 
icnn youth, good fellows and good students, in 
most cases, but not too good. They become 
interested in the " Boy Scout " movement and 
organize a company at the school. There is 
work for them of a mysterious and puzzling na- 
ture, and they acquit themselves well. In con- 
clusion, they have a very enjoyable week's 
"hike." 

u Here is a thoroughly wholesome book for boys, 
filled with boy life from cover to cover." 

— Baltimore Sun. 




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PHILLIPS EXETER SERIES 

By A. T. DUDLEY 

Cloth, i2mo Illustrated by Charles Copeland Price per volume, $1.25 



FOLLOWING THE BALL 

HERE is an up-to-date story presenting American boarding-schoo) 
life and modern athletics. Football is an important feature, but it 
is a story of character formation in which athletics play an important part. 
" Mingled with the story of football is another and higher endeavor, giving the 
book ths best of moral tone."— Chicago Record-Herald. 

MAKING THE NINE 

- T^HE life presented is that of a real school, interesting, diversified, 
X and full of striking incidents, while the characters are true and 
consistent types of American boyhood and youth. The athletics are 
technically correct, abounding in helpfull suggestions, and the moral 
tone is high and set by action rather than preaching. 

" The story is healthful, for, while it exalts athletics, it does not overlook the 
fact that studious habits and noble character are imperative needs for those who 
would win Success in life." — Herald and Presbyter ■, Cincinnati. 

IN THE LINE 

TELLS how a stalwart young student won his position as guard, and 
at the same time made equally marked progress in the formation of 
character. Plenty of jolly companions contribute a strong, humorous 
element, and the book has every essential of a favorite. 

"The book gives boys an interesting story^ much football information, and many 
lessons in true manliness."— Watchman. 'Boston. 



With Mask and Mitt 

WHILE baseball plays an important part 
in this story, it is not the only element 
of attraction. While appealing to the natural 
normal tastes of boys for fun and interest in 
the national game, the book, without preach- 
ing, lays emphasis on the building up of 
character. 

"No normal boy who is interested in our great 
national game can fail to find interest and profit, too, 
in this lively boarding school story." — Interior \ 
Chicago. 




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PHILLIPS EXETER SERIES 

By A. T. DUDLEY 
Cloth 12mo Illustrated Price per volume, $1.25 



THE GREAT YEAR 

THREE fine, manly comrades, respectively captains of the football, 
baseball, and track and field athletic teams, make a compact to sup- 
port each other so that they may achieve a "great year" of triple victory 
orer their traditional rival, M Hillbury." 

THE YALE CUP 

THE "Cup" is an annual prize given by a club of Yale alumni to the 
member of the Senior class of each of several preparatory schools 
"who best combines proficiency in athletics with good standing in his 
studies." 

A FULL-BACK AFLOAT 

AT the close of his first year in college Dick Melvin is induced to earn 
a passage to Europe by helping on a cattle steamer. The work is not 
so bad, but Dick finds ample use for the vigor, self control, and quick 
wit in emergency which he has gained from football. 



T 



THE 
HALF-MH£R 



THE PECKS IN CAMP 

HE Pecks are twin brothers so resembling each other that it was almost 
impossible to tell them apart, a fact which the roguish lads made the 
most of in a typical summer camp for boys. 

THE HALF-MILER 

THIS is the story of a young man of posi- 
tive character facing the stern problem 
of earning his way in a big school. The 
hero is not an imaginary compound of 
superlatives, but a plain person of flesh and 
blood, aglow with the hopeful idealism of 
youth, who succeeds and is not spoiled by 
success. He can run, and he does run — 
through the story. 

•• It is a good, wholesome, and true-to-life «tory, 
with plenty of happenings such as normal boys en- 
joy reading about." — Brooklyn Daily Times. 




AT.DDDLEV 



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NORMAN CARVER SERIES 
By C. B. BURLEIGH 

Cloth Large 1 2 mo Illustrated $1.50 each 



All Among the Loggers 

NORMAN CARVER is a bright, vigorous youth, whose father feels 
that a winter of practical affairs will be better for his son than getting 
into scrapes at school, where, though clean and honest, his social position 
and active nature make other things easier than hard, old-fashioned study. 
So he is sent to the deep woods of Maine, where his father owns lumber- 
ing interests, and set to work as company's " clerk." An eventful winter 
follows which does much for him. 



With Pickpole and Peavey 

NORMAN CARVER, having had a winter as a clerk in a lumber camp, 
is given a somewhat similar position with a crew of river-drivers, and 
with him is his faithful friend, Fred Wainer. The athletic, well-educated 
city boy and the earnest rural youth, M a born woodsman " as he is called, 
share in some very exciting adventures, and they bear themselves in a way 
that is a pleasure to read about. 



The Young Guide 

"NJORMAN accompanies his father on a vacation 
trip to the deep woods in the " open" season. 
In addition to the natural excitement of hunting, 
further adventures are supplied by a band of 
undesirable citizens who steal deer left hanging 
in the woods and sell them to "yarding crews." 
Norman Carver, and friend, Fred Warner, 
who wins laurels as a guide, are instrumental in 
having some of these villains brought to justice. 




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